June 17, 2013

U.S. Open: Rose's trophy, Mickelson's thorn

Justin Rose wins as Phil Mickelson loses the lead to finish second for a record sixth time Sunday.

By BARRY SVRLUGA The Washington Post

(Continued from page 1)

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Justin Rose, born in South Africa and raised in England, celebrates with the trophy after winning the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., on Sunday.

The Associated Press

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Justin Rose of England reacts after a putt on the 18th hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., on Sunday. Rose won the tournament.

The Associated Press

Rose has, too, been through his own golfing purgatory, not with a specific tournament, but with the sport itself. He was 17 when he finished tied for fourth at the British Open, and he turned pro the following day. He then fell off the golfing globe, missing his first 21 cuts on the European PGA Tour, becoming something of a poster child for golf’s “Too much, too soon.”

He is long since established, though, and this takes him to the next level. He said he put into play a plan this week that he hopes will deliver major championhips – plural – in the next five to 10 years.

“I don’t know if it takes the pressure off,” Rose said. “It’s a moment you can look back on and say childhood dreams come true.”

As for those particulars, the shots Mickelson will pack with his clubs? There are the three-putt double bogeys at the nearly impossible par-3 third and the 495-yard fifth, which played into a steep wind and where Mickelson hit his tee shot to the edge of the hazard.

The eagle at 10 allowed him to pull back from that, with Merion just sitting back and launching haymakers at the field.

At various points, Rose, Mickelson, Day and Hunter Mahan led. But the old East Course, which hadn’t hosted the Open since 1981 and played Sunday at 6,869 yards, wouldn’t let anyone run away.

“Man,” Mahan said, exhausted after his 75 left him in a four-way tie for fourth, “it was brutal out there.”

“Thirteen and 15 were the two bad shots of the day that I’ll look back on – where I let it go,” Mickelson said.

Rose has a fine shot to remember, a fairway wood from just off the fringe at 18 that he nearly holed and helped him save par. When he finished, he looked to the sky, and his eyes teared up, remembering his late father.

Behind him, Mickelson needed to birdie the 18th to tie, to force a playoff. But this is the U.S. Open, and as painful as it is, he is Phil Mickelson. So turn off the television, because the ending has already been written.

There would be no tying birdie. Just heartache by the bucket, and another lacerated, Open artery, bleeding all over Merion.

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