Jim Furyk captured the 103rd US Open Championship at Olympia Fields Country Club, Matteson, Illinois, as a European Tour Member, in the guise of an inspired Stephen Leaney of Australia, finished second and three others, Ernie Els, Fredrik Jacobson and Justin Rose, tied for fifth.
The US Ryder Cup player fired a final round 72 for 272, eight under par, to win his first Major Championship and thwart the title bid of Leaney, who had been Furyk’s closest challenger from the moment he made a tap-in birdie to close his third round.
Furyk’s three-putt bogey at the last denied him the chance to claim the outright low 72 hole score for the US Open Championship. In the event, he now shares the mark on 272 with Jack Nicklaus (1980), Lee Janzen (1993) and Tiger Woods (2000)
Leaney, the reigning Linde German Masters champion, signed off with a courageous72 for 275 to secure his best finish in a Major Championship while there were commendable performances by two Europeans, Jacobson of Sweden and England’s Rose, who finished tied for fifth with South African Els on level par 280.
Jacobson, competing in his first Major Championship in the United States after pre-qualifying, emerged with considerable credit. The Omega Hong Kong Open and Algarve Open de Portugal winner birdied the 15th and 16th but three putted the 18th for a round of 71.
Rose, meanwhile, carded a superb one under par 69 in his first US Open Championship with a dropped shot at the last to finish level with Jacobson and Els, who started with a seven but hit back to shoot a 72.
Masters Champion Mike Weir of Canada enjoyed another successful week, sharing third place with American Kenny Perry on 279 as only four players finished under par at the end of a day in which 19 started out in red figures.
Furyk, 33, rode his luck in the early stages of the final round, after starting with three strokes between Leaney and himself. He sank two outrageous par putts on the second and fifth while Leaney mixed two bogeys in among two fine birdies in the opening four holes.
Vijay Singh, the halfway leader after shooting a second round 63, had seemed the danger to Furyk during the third round but his challenge evaporated over the closing round, leaving the American and Australian to fight it out for the title.
Leaney, always on the back foot, was unfortunate on a couple of occasions when his ball became embedded in bunkers, preventing him from putting pressure on Furyk. However a chink of light appeared when Furyk dropped shots at the 10th and 12th and Leaney, after a bogey of his own at the 11th, holed from 30 feet for a birdie at the 13th.
Furyk effectively closed the door, however, by sending a towering approach to three feet at the 14th to get back to ten under par for the Championship and extending his advantage to four shots.
Jacobson’s great adventure ended 90 minutes before Furyk’s coronation, but the Swede was thrilled with his debut in the event. He said: “I’ve enjoyed the atmosphere. This has been the most incredible week I’ve ever had. I’ve played with the best players in the world and been right up there. I hung in well and never gave up but I need to put the ball in play more often to compete.”
Rose, meanwhile, took notice of some words of advice from his coach, David Leadbetter, and said: "I am delighted. This is another good learning experience for me and I will take level par in this for the next 20 years every time. Par is a great score. You have to execute the shots perfectly while patience is the key.
"My game is at a major level now and without saying I feel I am ready to win one I think I am capable of it in the not too distant future."
Like Rose, defending champion Tiger Woods had resumed on one over and when he birdied the two par fives in the first six holes he could not be totally written off. But then he four-putted the ninth green and finished with a 72 for 283, three over par.
Woods said: "I was very close. I hit the ball pretty good the last three days and got absolutely nothing out of it. That's very frustrating. If I play like I know I can things will take care of themselves. All I needed was a little bit of momentum."
Padraig Harrington, one of five players tied for tenth position, closed with a 68 for 281 and commented: "I could have been better. I missed six or seven more opportunities today. At least I holed a few, but at the end of the day I have not played well enough."
Eduardo Romero of Argentina, bidding to win the title at the age of 49, ended the week with a 76 for 282, two over par, while Peter Lonard’s 68 left him one shot worse off on 283.
Another Argentina player, Angel Cabrera, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia shot 72 and 71 respectively for 285, five over par, one better than Darren Clarke (75), Retief Goosen (70), Bernhard Langer (73) and Colin Montgomerie (73). Niclas Fasth shot 71 for 287 with Alex Cejka caring 77 and Brian Davis 75 for 292.