ERIN, Wis. — Some of the loudest cheers at the U.S. Open were reserved for a guy who never 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 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-4-15th, when a 23-foot putt stopped right on the edge of the cup.

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

He’s not slowing down either.

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

SPIETH MAKES PROGRESS: This was more like it for Jordan Spieth at a major.

He shot a 69 to finish at 1 over for the tournament.

Spieth was well off the lead, but seemed to be feeling much better with his game a day after he shot 76 in the third round. It was an especially good day for Spieth considering how the wind picked up at Erin Hills.

“Yeah, no doubt. I thought it was a fantastic round of golf, given what we were dealing with to start the day,” the fifth-ranked player in the world said.

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.”

THE BIG EASY: Weekend rain softened the greens at Erin Hills. When the wind picked up Sunday, Ernie Els thought of another major championship.

“Today is more like a British Open, but they were soft conditions,” the Big Easy said. He shot a 74 to finish at 7 over.

It has been 20 years since Els, 47, won the U.S. Open at Congressional. He also has three British Open victories. His 2012 win at Royal Lytham was his last PGA Tour win, and his five-year exemption in the majors is running out this year.

But Els seems at peace with where he is in his career.

“I’ve played 25 (U.S. Opens), and if I play another great. If not, it’s fine. It’s been a good ride,” the popular Els said while signing autographs.