5 Things: Day flirts with first major title; Kim low am
Thursday, June 20, 2013
PHOTOS: Justin Rose, U.S. Open champion
A look back at the week that was for 2013 U.S. Open champion Justin Rose.
ARDMORE, Pa. –- Justin Rose used an even-par 70 Sunday to clear the U.S. Open field by two shots and win his first major title, outlasting Phil Mickelson and Jason Day in doing so.
Here are 5 Things to take away from Sunday at Merion:
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1. KNOCKING ON THE DOOR: Jason Day knows it is coming.
"As long as I keep knocking on the door, I think I'll win a major here soon."
The Aussie continued his incredible play on golf's biggest stages with his fifth top-10 finish in only 10 starts in major championships.
Just like at the Masters in April, Day even garnered a share of the lead Sunday at Merion, picking up birdie on the par-4 10th to move to even par on the championship.
But then he found the drink at the par-4 11th, coming up short of the green from the long rough and then hitting his fourth shot into the rough in front of the green. He managed to chip in to limit the damage.
A momentum save, right?
"I think it was actually opposite because up to that moment I was actually moving in the right direction," said Day. "Then I kind of stumbled a little bit. But if I didn't get that up and down, I may have had a triple. I think it was a momentum save for myself.
"If there was ever a good bogey in a U.S. Open, that was a good bogey – to chip that in and keep myself in the game was a very positive thing."
The momentum would stop on No. 14 after finding the rough off the tee that led to another bogey. Day finished with a lip-out bogey on No. 18 to finish T-2 with Phil Mickelson.
The performance follows his third-place finish at the Masters, when he enjoyed the lead on the back nine only to be caught by Angel Cabrera and eventual champion Adam Scott.
The one thing he has learned? No one shoulders the blame for falling short but himself.
"It totally depends on the play, totally depends on me. If I want it enough and I'm willing to do the hard work and practice and keep myself dedicated, I think it will happen," said Day. "If I slack off and don't do the work, then it won't happen. And that's just plain and simple. Every goal that I try and accomplish, it's all the process.
"Process, goals, turn into the big goals that you accomplish. And everyone knows that. I've just got to keep working hard and doing the little things right."
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2. AMATEUR DELIGHT: Cal's Michael Kim created plenty of buzz Saturday as he moved within two shots of the lead with a birdie at the par-4 15th, and he continued to impress the Philly crowd by holding steady in a 6-over 76 that left him T-17 for the tournament.
The junior had six bogeys, a double bogey and a pair of birdies en route to low-amateur honors.
"(Taking low-amateur honors) feels awesome. I had a difficult ending, but the overall week, it's just an unbelievable experience," said Kim.
Kim had plenty of competition for that standing, as four amateurs made the cut at Merion.
A breakdown of their performances:
• Cheng-Tsung Pan of Washington posted a 6-over 76 for his worst score of the tournament, finishing at 15 over. Pan had two double-bogeys Sunday.
• Kevin Phelan, formerly of North Florida, enjoyed a solid Sunday with a 4-over 74, overcoming a double-bogey 7 on the par-5 fourth hole with impressive birdies at Nos. 15 and 16. He finished at 20 over overall, including a first-round 71 that left him in the top 10 at that point.
PHOTOS: U.S. Open, final round at Merion
Check out final-round photos from the U.S. Open.
• Michael Weaver, a senior at Cal, fired a 5-over 75 Sunday to finish at 21 over for the tournament. Weaver had seven bogeys and a double Sunday, but managed to sneak in four birdies.
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3. NO COMPLAINTS: Hideki Matsuyama had little to gripe about after his 3-under 67 – which tied for the lowest round of the tournament.
"The course setup wasn't any more different than the other three days; in fact I think it was very fair and much the same as we have experienced the last three rounds," said Matsuyama, who finished his tournament at 7 over.
The youngster – who is followed by hordes of Japanese media – is growing accustomed to playing well in America's majors, having finished T-27 in 2011 at the Masters, and followed with a T-54 in 2012 at Augusta. He qualified for both trips by winning the Asian Amateur Championship.
The former No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking has won twice on the Japan Tour since turning pro, giving himself three pro victories at age 21.
His performance at Merion seems to have given him confidence for a few more wins in the near future.
"It was great to play here. It was a great experience for me to be able to play a course that was so difficult and the setting was very difficult too," said Matsuyama. "But to play well the final day has given me a lot of confidence and I'm looking forward to more experiences like this."
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4. BY THE NUMBERS: Many of the players might remember this week as the Mayhem at Merion, judging by the numbers that show how incredibly tough the 6,996-yard course played this week.
• Toughest hole: Par-5 18th (4.7068; 268 bogeys or worse)
• Easiest hole: Par-3 13th (2.8140; 126 birdies)
• Eagles: 11 (4 on No. 10; 3 on No. 2)
• Birdie leaders: Luke Donald, Justin Rose, Jason Day (15)
• Greens-in-regulation leaders: Phil Mickelson, Paul Casey (75 percent)
• Fairways-hit leaders: Hunter Mahan (85.71 percent)
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5. SHORT SHOTS: Kyle Stanley followed his 15-over 85 Saturday with an 8-over 78 Sunday to finish dead last among those that made the cut at 28 over. . . . Ernie Els picked up his best round of the tournament with a 1-under 69 to finish at 5 over. He'll turn his attention to defending his title at the Open Championship. . . . Mike Weir also fired a 1-under 69 to finish at 12 over. . . . Defending U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson posted a 2-over 72 to finish at 13 over, making it 25 consecutive years without a repeat U.S. Open winner.