Home fa­vorite Stricker, Spi­eth fin­ish strong

San Francisco Chronicle - - U.S. OPEN - AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

ERIN, Wis. — Some of the loud­est cheers at the U.S. Open were re­served for a guy who didn’t re­ally chal­lenged the lead­ers.

Wis­con­sin golf fans love home-state fa­vorite Steve Stricker.

He had a pretty good fi­nal round, too, shoot­ing a 3-un­der-par 69 to fin­ish at 5-un­der for the tour­na­ment. His best fin­ish in 20 U.S. Open ap­pear­ances came in the first Open to be held in Wis­con­sin.

There was one last ova­tion as he walked off the 18th green af­ter putting for par.

“It was re­ally cool. Yeah, I don’t get those very of­ten,” Stricker said. “And to play well to­day on top of it was ex­tra spe­cial.”

Stricker was rolling down the back end of the back nine, with three birdies be­tween the 14th and 17th holes. He came up short at the par-415th, when a 23-foot putt stopped right on the edge of the cup. Stricker tapped in for par.

“Yeah, that would have been nice to get. But I can’t com­plain the way I fin­ished it,” Stricker said.

Af­ter turning 50 this year, Stricker gets to play in the PGA Tour Cham­pi­ons event that he will host in Madi­son next week­end, the Amer­i­can Family In­sur­ance Cham­pi­onship.

He’s not sure if his wife, Nicki, will re­peat as his cad­die next week, though.

“She’s hurt­ing, I don’t know if she’ll be able to cad­die next week,” he said. “But she did well. We had a lot of fun to­gether again.”

Sis­ter helps Spi­eth:

Be­gin­ning the day 16 strokes off the lead, Jor­dan Spi­eth was able to fin­ish his U.S. Open on a high note, and he has lit­tle sis­ter El­lie to thank.

The fifth-ranked player in the world hit a 4foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th for a 69 to end his week­end at Erin Hills at 1-over. It was his first round un­der 70 in the tour­na­ment.

Spi­eth says he asked El­lie, 16, on Satur­day night what she wanted him to do in the fi­nal round. She thought for a sec­ond and replied, “16 birdies.”

Spi­eth used that as mo­ti­va­tion and opened with a birdie on No. 1 and said to his cad­die, “Fif­teen more.” And then he made birdie on the next hole. Two down, 14 to go.

Three pars later, it was all over. The clos­ing birdie on 18 was his fourth of the round.

Still, Spi­eth had a big grin on his face re­count­ing the story. Smiles are rare at a U.S. Open when a player fin­ishes be­fore the lead­ers tee off.

When asked to rate his confidence level, Spi­eth as­signed him­self a “B,” though he graded him­self at an “A” with his put­ter .

“I feel re­ally good about just about ev­ery­thing else,” Spi­eth said. “I’ve just got to get on the greens and have that cup start to look a bit big­ger.”

Low am­a­teur:

Scot­tie Sch­ef­fler was the low am­a­teur for the U.S. Open. Sch­ef­fler, 20, fin­ished at 1-un­der 287. He also played in the U.S. Open last year at Oak­mont and missed the cut.

His sis­ter, Cal­lie, served as his cad­die at Erin Hills.

“Be­ing an am­a­teur in the U.S. Open is very cool,” Sch­ef­fler said.

Cameron Champ was the low­est am­a­teur head­ing into the fi­nal round, but he fin­ished with a 4-over 76 to drop back to even par for the tour­na­ment.

Sch­ef­fler birdied No. 18 for a 73 in the fi­nal round.

Sch­ef­fler and Champ know each other well; they played to­gether dur­ing a cou­ple of youth tour­na­ments. Sch­ef­fler plays for the Univer­sity of Texas, Champ at Texas A&M.

Hail the King:

The 18th hole at Erin Hills had a spe­cial flag for the fi­nal round of the U.S. Open.

The flag com­mem­o­rated the late Arnold Palmer’s win at the 1960 U.S. Open at Cherry Hills. It fea­tured a sil­hou­ette of Palmer in mid-stride, toss­ing his vi­sor in the air. Palmer shot a 65 af­ter go­ing into the fi­nal round trail­ing by seven shots.

David J. Phillip / As­so­ci­ated Press

Wis­con­sin na­tive Steve Stricker putts on the ninth hole dur­ing the fi­nal round of the U.S. Open be­fore a loyal group of fans at Erin Hills.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.