Torrey Pines Golf Course, La Jolla, CA — June 20, 2021
The final day of the United States Open Championship began with three players atop the leaderboard. Mackenzie Hughes, Louis Oosthuizen, and Russell Henley all sat at 5 under par. By virtue of the time they posted their scores from Saturday’s round, Henley who has held a portion of the lead every day of the tournament will not play in the final group. He is paired with Rory McIlroy and they tee off just before Hughes and Louis Oosthuizen, the last group off #1 just before 4 pm eastern time, 1:00 pm in California at Torrey Pines.
The Leaders Begin the Final Round
It did not take long for the followers to begin firing darts at the Top 3. Jon Rahm birdied the 1st two holes to move to -4. An incredible save on the 3rd hole, kept him in contention for the lead.
Henley made bogey on the first to drop a stroke behind. Dustin Johnson birdied the 4th to pull within 3 of the lead. Collin Morikawa birdied 2 of the first 4 holes to improve his score to -3.
When the leaders completed the opening hole, Louis Oosthuizen held the lead alone after making par. Hughes’ 2nd shot settled into the deep rough at the back of the green. He left his chip shot short and 2-putted for bogey. Rahm missed a 12-foot par putt on the 4th to give a stroke back and drop to -3. Henly recovered with a birdie on the par-3, 3rd hole to regain a tie for the lead.
Brooks Koepka moved within 2 strokes of the lead with a birdie on the 9th hole. McIlroy birdied the 4th and closed to 1 stroke back.
The Course Bites Back
The run of early birdies slowed up as the difficulty of Torrey Pines asserted itself. Bryson DeChambeau finally got his first birdie of the day on the 5th hole as he drew within a stroke of the lead.
Oosthuizen carded a bogey on the 4th and dropped out of the lead, leaving Henely alone at the top. Hughes dropped another stroke at the 5th and fell to -3. A bogey by Henley on #6 and the lead was shared by four players, McIlroy, DeChambeau, Oosthuizen, and Henley.
Henley hit into a fairway bunker on the 7th and caught a bad break when the ball settled up close to the lip. He had to blast out and was left with 143 yards to the hole. Henley managed to get within 20 feet with his 3rd shot, but missed the putt and dropped out of the lead.
On the par-3, 8th DeChambeau missed a hole-in-one by an inch as his tee shot settled on the lip of the cup. The tap-in gave him sole possession of the lead at -5. Morikawa birdied the 9th to join the group at -4.
Henley found the bunker at the front of the 8th hole with his tee shot and it left him with a fried egg to hit out of the sand. He missed the long par putt and carded another bogey. Hughes finally ended his slide with a long birdie putt at 7 to get back to -3.
DeChambeau found a fairway bunker with his drive on the par-5, 9th. That took away any chance to go for the green in two. He laid up and hit a nice shot within 10 feet of the hole, but ended up settling for par. Several players had putts for a share of the lead, but none found the bottom of the cup.
Koepka moved to within a stroke of the lead with a birdie on 15. Another birdie on the 9th for Hughes and 6 players were now tied for 2nd with 9 holes to play. Oosthuizen was the first to break out of the pack with a birdie on 9 to take him to -5 and a share of the lead.
The Final 9 Holes
Missing the green to the right of the par-3, 11th hole, DeChambeau looked like he might relinquish the lead. His chip took a peek at the hole as it rolled past 15 feet. Bryson missed the putt and his streak of holes without a bogey ended at 30. A hole behind Oosthuizen rolled in a birdie put to take over the lead by himself at -6, two up on his competition.
Koepka made bogey on the 16th and likely dropped out of contention for the win, 3 strokes back at -3. DeChambeau missed the fairway on the 12th and ended up in the deep rough. He was able to muscle his 2nd shot onto the front of the green, but 3 putts cost him another stroke to fall 3 shots behind the leader.
On the 11th, Oosthuizen missed the green in the same manner DeChambeau did, wide right. His chip ended up in almost the same position on the green. He failed to make the save and dropped a stroke to -5.
Dropping Out of Contention
Morikawa double-bogeyed the 13th and dropped out of contention to -2. Hughes’ tee shot on the 11th missed the green and hit a tree. The ball dropped down, hit the cart path, and bounced back up into the tree becoming lodged between two branches. After taking a penalty shot, his third traveled well past the hole. Hughes’ bogey putt hit the lip of the cup but did not fall. He ended up carding a double and another contender drops out.
After a bogey at 12, McIlroy double-bogeyed the 13 and dropped to -1. Suddenly with golfers falling on every hole, the championship was narrowing to Oosthuizen at -5 and Rahm at 4 under.
DeChambeau, with a chance to gain a stroke on the par-5, 13, drove into the rough when his right foot slipped while teeing off. His 2nd settled still in the rough, and his 3rd found a greenside bunker. He made a complete mess of the hole and scored a double bogey. At -1 DeChambeau had played his way out of a repeat in the US Open.
Meanwhile, Harris English posted a score of 3 under and was the leader in the clubhouse.
McIlroy had a real shot at an eagle on the 13th. His near-miss left him an easy birdie putt but 2 under was still 3 strokes out of the lead.
Rahm with several birdie chances on the back nine could not find the magic. He landed in a fairway bunker with his drive on 17 but was able to put his 2nd shot on the green with a chance at another birdie to bring him into a tie for the lead. This time he drained it and became the co-leader.
Oosthuizen missed the fairway on the 14th hole but hit a great shot to recover and land on the green. He salvaged the par to retain a share of the lead.
Rahm had a chance to hit the 18th green in two, he dropped his shot into the right greenside bunker. Faced with a difficult sand shot and the risk of blowing past the hole and into the water fronting the green, Rham chose to play it safe. His birdie putt curled into the center of the hole and he held the lead in the clubhouse by himself at 6 under.
Oosthuizen made par at 15, hit the green with his tee shot on 16, and left his birdie attempt well short of the hole. He calmly sank the 8-footer for his par. His drive on the 17th missed the fairway and ended up in the snake pit on the left side. After taking a penalty his third shot settled just short of the pin.
His par putt missed the cup entirely and barring an eagle on the par-5, 18th Rahm would be the winner. Oosthuizen drive on 18 settled into the rough making it virtually impossible to reach the green in 2. Louis managed to birdie the 18th, coming up 1 stroke short of the title.
It seems Rahm was owed some good karma after being forced out of the Memorial Tournament two weeks ago. He was leading by 6 strokes after the 3rd round when a positive COVID test left him with no choice but to withdraw. His win at Torrey Pines thrilled the crowd that urged him on at every hole.
Final Results of the 121st United States Open Golf Championship
|Position||Player||To Par||Round 1||Round 2||Round 3||Round 4||Total|
|T40||Si Woo Kim||6||71||75||70||74||290|
|T50||Rafa Cabrera Bello||8||68||76||74||74||292|