Spi­eth wins stun­ner at Cham­bers Bay for Open ti­tle

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY DOUG FER­GU­SON

Jor­dan Spi­eth is half­way home to the Grand Slam, a prize only three of the big­gest names in mod­ern golf have ever chased.

And he still can’t be­lieve how he got there.

Spi­eth won the U. S. Open in a heart- stop­per Sun­day with a turn of events even more wild than the ter­rain at Cham­bers Bay. He thought he had it won with a 25- foot birdie putt on the 16th hole. He threw away a three- shot lead one hole later. He made birdie on the fi­nal hole. And then he thought it was over as Dustin John­son set­tled in over a 12- foot ea­gle putt for the vic­tory.

Three putts later, Spi­eth was the U.S. Open cham­pion.

Spi­eth be­came only the sixth player to win the Mas­ters and U. S. Open in the same year, and he joined Arnold Palmer, Jack Nick­laus and Tiger Woods in get­ting the first two legs of the mod­ern slam that Palmer cre­ated on his way to St. An­drews in 1960.

That’s the next stop for the 21- year- old Texan whose two ma­jor cham­pi­onships could not be any more dif­fer­ent. A wire-towire run­away at Au­gusta Na­tional. A nail-biter on the edge of Puget Sound.

And another ma­jor heartache for John­son.

John­son reached the par-5 18th with a 5-iron — that’s how far he smashed his tee shot on the 601-yard hole.

Make the putt and he wins the U.S. Open. Two putts would force an 18-hole play­off Mon­day on a course that fa­vors power.

Spi­eth now pre­pares for St. An­drews, the next stop on this im­prob­a­ble ride.

Woods in 2002 was the last player to get the first two legs of the slam.

Spi­eth fin­ished at 5- un­der 275 in win­ning for the third time this year. He is still No. 2 and clos­ing fast on Rory McIl­roy, who has top 10s in both ma­jors this year with­out be­ing a se­ri­ous con­tender.

Spi­eth be­comes the first player since Jones to make birdie on the 72nd hole to win the U.S. Open by one shot — all be­cause of John­son’s three-putt. He also be­came the youngest player with two ma­jors since Gene Sarazen in 1922.

The fi­nal hour was so wild that four play­ers could have won over the last two holes.

Spi­eth hit into the fes­cue­cov­ered mounds right of the 17th and made dou­ble bo­gey just as Oosthuizen made one last birdie — his sixth over the last seven holes — for a 67 to post at 4-un­der 276.

Jason Day, who col­lapsed on Fri­day with ver­tigo only to rally for a share of the 54-hole lead, fell back with missed putt and was never in the hunt on the back nine. He closed with a 74 to fin­ish five shots be­hind.

Grace never re­cov­ered from that dou­ble bo­gey on No. 16 and shot 71 to tie for fourth with Adam Scott (64) and Cameron Smith (68).

Jor­dan Spi­eth holds up the tro­phy af­ter win­ning the U.S. Open golf tour­na­ment at Cham­bers Bay, Washington on Sun­day, June 21.

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