Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion, suffered his sixth Major runner-up effort since his win at St Andrews, a bogey at the 17th dooming his title bid after he pulled his tee shot left into bushes and needed a penalty drop.
That effectively ended Oosthuizen’s chance to claim a long-awaited Major victory, with Jon Rahm delivering fist-swinging birdies at the last two holes to knock out the last of the rivals this past Sunday and win the US Open.
But it was a formidable back nine at Torrey Pines that collapsed rival contenders as the Spaniard won his first Major title, becoming the only leader to play the back nine bogey free.
“I pulled it by five yards, that tee shot,” Oosthuizen said. “Drive that in the fairway and I’ve got sand wedge into that pin, which would probably give me inside a 10-foot putt for birdie.”
The bogey at 17 meant his birdie at 18 was one stroke too little to force a playoff with Rahm, giving him back-to-back Major runner-ups after sharing second at last month’s PGA Championship at Kiawah Island.
“I didn’t win it. I’m second again,” Oosthuizen said. “It’s frustrating. It’s disappointing.
“I’m playing good golf but winning a Major championship is not just going to happen. I played good today, but I didn’t play good enough.”
Nevertheless, even knowing the result, ‘Oosty’ would grab his driver again.
“Standing on that tee again, I’ll probably do the same thing, taking a driver and taking the shot on,” he said.
“I had my shots. I went for it and that’s what you have to do to win Majors. Sometimes it goes your way and other times it doesn’t.”
Four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy was trying to win his first Major since the 2014 PGA Championship but a bogey at the par-three 11th and double-bogey at the 12th stole the wind from his charge.
He made a birdie at the par-five 13th and bogey at the par-three 16th but nothing was the same after he early back-nine fade.
“Once I made those little mistakes on 11 and 12, I was just chasing a little bit and then ultimately couldn’t really get anything done from there,” McIlroy said.
“The three-putt on 11, that sort of stopped the momentum, and then I got a little unlucky on 12. Take those two holes out, the rest of the week was really good.”
It wasn’t the Major victory he hoped to achieve, but McIlroy was pleased with a third straight top-10 US Open finish.
“Overall, it has been a positive week. I gave myself a great chance,” McIlroy said. “It was two holes that basically stopped the sort of run at the title.
“I played well. I felt comfortable. The way I hit the ball tee to green, I just felt much more in control of everything than the previous few times that I’ve been in this position.
”I have to take the positives from this week. Yes, it’s disappointing that I had a chance and didn’t get the job done, but considering where I’ve been the previous few Majors, it’s a big step in the right direction.”
DeChambeau well back
Defending champion Bryson DeChambeau made two double-bogeys and two bogeys on the back nine on his way to a 77 and 287 finish, sharing 26th after leading with a near ace at the par-three eighth.
“Today on the back nine I just didn’t hit it very good,” DeChambeau said. “I just wasn’t fully confident with the golf swing and just got a little unlucky.
“I’m just glad I gave myself a chance being a defending champion. I haven’t done that ever with any of my wins, and I was proud of it.”
Four-time Major winner Brooks Koepka gave himself a chance as well but bogeys at 16 and 18 left him sharing fourth on 282 after a closing 69.
“I didn’t really have my stuff,” he said. “It is what it is. Not very pleased. I guess it could be worse.”
121st US Open scores
278 – Jon Rahm (ESP) 69-70-72-67
279 – Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 67-71-70-71
281 – Harris English (USA) 72-70-71-68
282 – Guido Migliozzi (ITA) 71-70-73-68, Brooks Koepka (USA) 69-73-71-69, Collin Morikawa (USA) 75-67-70-70
283 – Branden Grace (RSA) 72-70-74-67, Daniel Berger (USA) 71-72-72-68, Paul Casey (ENG) 71-75-67-70, Xander Schauffele (USA) 69-71-72-71, Scottie Scheffler (USA) 72-69-70-72, Rory McIlroy (NIR) 70-73-67-73
284 – Francesco Molinari (ITA) 68-76-69-71, Russell Henley (USA) 67-70-71-76
285 – Patrick Cantlay (USA) 70-75-71-69, Kevin Streelman (USA) 71-69-72-73, Matthew Wolff (USA) 70-68-73-74, Mackenzie Hughes (CAN) 73-67-68-77
286 – Patrick Reed (USA) 72-73-74-67, Sergio Garcia (ESP) 71-74-73-68, Charl Schwartzel (RSA) 71-74-71-70, Brian Harman (USA) 72-71-71-72, Jordan Spieth (USA) 77-69-68-72, Justin Thomas (USA) 73-69-71-73, Dustin Johnson (USA) 71-73-68-74
287 – Hideki Matsuyama (JPN) 69-76-74-68, Rikuya Hoshino (JPN) 69-74-73-71, Martin Kaymer (GER) 77-68-69-73, Chris Baker (USA) 74-71-69-73, Bryson DeChambeau (USA) 73-69-68-77
288 – Patrick Rodgers (USA) 70-71-77-70, Dylan Wu (USA) 70-73-74-71, Joaquin Niemann (CHI) 75-69-71-73, Christiaan Bezuidenhout (RSA) 72-70-70-76
289 – Edoardo Molinari (ITA) 70-76-72-71, Robert MacIntyre (SCO) 71-73-72-73, Adam Scott (AUS) 70-75-71-73, Lanto Griffin (USA) 76-69-69-75, Im Sung-jae (KOR) 72-72-69-76
290 – Wade Ormsby (AUS) 72-74-73-71, Adam Hadwin (CAN) 70-72-75-73, Chez Reavie (USA) 76-68-72-74, Kim Si-woo (KOR) 71-75-70-74, JT Poston (USA) 72-73-71-74, Ian Poulter (ENG) 74-71-68-77
291 – Rick Lamb (USA) 71-75-74-71, Tom Hoge (USA) 72-71-76-72, Dylan Frittelli (RSA) 73-72-72-74, Lee Westwood (ENG) 71-72-71-77
292 – Tommy Fleetwood (ENG) 72-73-74-73, Rafa Cabrera Bello (ESP) 68-76-74-74, Gary Woodland (USA) 74-71-73-74, Bubba Watson (USA) 72-67-77-76, Richard Bland (ENG) 70-67-77-78
293 – Kevin Kisner (USA) 73-73-72-75, Matt Fitzpatrick (ENG) 70-75-72-76
294 – Taylor Montgomery (USA) 70-76-74-74, Stewart Cink (USA) 73-72-74-75, Akshay Bhatia (USA) 73-73-73-75, Jhonattan Vegas (VEN) 75-69-74-76, Charley Hoffman (USA) 72-71-75-76
295 – Phil Mickelson (USA) 75-69-76-75, Greyson Sigg (USA) 71-74-75
296 – Marc Leishman (AUS) 74-70-75-77
297 – Matt Jones (AUS) 72-71-79-75, Troy Merritt (USA) 75-71-73-78, Shane Lowry (IRL) 72-74-72-79
298 – Wilco Nienaber (RSA) 72-74-80-72, Kyle Westmoreland (USA) 71-73-78-76
303 – Fabian Gomez (ARG) 70-76-78-79, Jimmy Walker (USA) 74-72-77-80
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