Jordan Spieth’s birdie put him in position to win the U.S. Open.
Dustin Johnson’s three-putt on the 18th hole handed Spieth the trophy.
The Pacific Northwest’s first U.S. Open championship finished in spectacularly dramatic fashion Sunday, as Spieth, the 21-year-old whose status as golf’s biggest young superstar is only growing, survived Chambers Bay and won his second major with a score of 5-under par.
“I feel for Dustin,” Spieth said, “but I haven’t been able to put anything in perspective yet.”
Spieth and Johnson each entered the 18th hole at 4-under par, and each missed eagle opportunities. But Spieth made his tap-in birdie attempt, and Johnson ran his short birdie putt past the hole.
“I knew I needed to fade the ball off the tee (on No. 18) and I struck it right on the middle of the face,” Spieth said. “That’s the only way I could have kept it short of the second bunker. I said, ‘Put it in the fairway, give yourself a chance.’
Spieth, who shot 18-under par at Augusta National in April to run away with the Masters championship, becomes just the sixth player in history to win the Masters and U.S. Open in the same year. Tiger Woods was the last to do it in 2002.
Separation appeared to come on the 16th hole, with Spieth and Branden Grace tied atop the leaderboard at 5-under par. Grace pushed his drive right and out of bounds, and eventually carded a double-bogey. Spieth sank a 27-foot birdie putt and took a three-shot lead, at 6-under par, into the final two holes.
But it wasn’t over. He missed a short bogey putt on 17 and fell back to 4-under and into a tie with Louis Oosthuizen, whose incredible comeback from a first-round 77 – he shot 11-under the past three days and birdied six holes on the back nine Sunday – made him the leader in the clubhouse.
Then Johnson, who entered Sunday as one of four co-leaders and played with Jason Day in the final group, moved to 4-under after a birdie at the 17th hole and needed another birdie at 18 to tie Spieth and force a playoff.
His second shot rolled to within 13 feet of the cup, the fans seated in the grandstands roaring their approval. But like Spieth, Johnson just missed his eagle attempt, then missed a short birdie putt that will define this tournament for years to come.
Spieth says he thinks the magnitude of his accomplishment will settle in sometime Sunday night.
“I think it will sink in a little quicker than the Masters did given that it’s already happened but, boy, what a team effort,” said Spieth, the 21-year-old whose caddie, Michael Greller, is from Gig Harbor. “What a team effort the whole week. I didn’t have my best stuff and we were able to get it done. Michael knew this course better than anybody playing this week and he made sure I was in the right spots without my best stuff and that’s why I won.”