Friday, 19 March 2010
U.S. Open - Day 5  (Getty Images)
U.S. Open - Day 5 (Getty Images)

Lucas Glover held off a host of players - including England’s Ross Fisher - to win The US Open Championship following a thrilling final round at Bethpage Black.

Glover, the World Number 71, held his nerve magnificently in the closing holes to finish on four under par - two clear of fellow Americans Phil Mickelson, David Duval and Ricky Barnes.

Fisher was in contention throughout the final round and moved to within one of the lead with a sensational eagle at the 13th, but he eventually finished fifth on one under.

Defending champion and world number one Tiger Woods was a shot further back on level par, along with Denmark’s Soren Hansen and Hunter Mahan.

The win gives Glover his first Major Championship at the age of 29 and the American deserves immense credit for a gutsy performance under pressure.

Having turned in 38 - three over par - he carded five pars in a row to keep himself in contention as the raucous New York crowd were treated to a dramatic climax in the first Monday finish to a final round in 26 years.

Then, following a three putt bogey at the 15th, Glover fired a wonderful approach into the 16th to set up what turned out to be a crucial birdie, before parring the final two holes to secure a shock triumph.

After receiving the winner's trophy, he said: “It feels great. I didn't expect this on Thursday, to say the least. But I was playing well coming in. And I knew if I put four rounds together I might have a chance.

“I’m obviously very excited and just happy I hung in there. I'd be lying to say I wasn't nervous, but I pulled it off and executed some pretty good golf shots.”

Mickelson had briefly moved into a share of the lead with an eagle at the 13th, but bogeys at the 15th and 17th ensured he finished second for a fifth time.

The popular world number two will now take a break from the game to care for wife Amy, who has been diagnosed with breast cancer, and admitted the final day had proved a moving experience.

“It was kind of an emotional four or five days,” said Mickelson. “I'm certainly disappointed, but now that it's over, I've got more important things going on.

“I don't know where to go with this, because I want to win this tournament badly. This is now my fifth second. But I think maybe it's more in perspective for me, because I feel different this time.”

Fisher also eagled the 13th to get to within one of Mickelson and Glover, but he too bogeyed the 15th and 17th to finish with a 72.

The 28 year old admitted he was disappointed to have missed out on the main prize and admitted a series of missed chances on the greens proved costly.

“I feel like I've hit the ball so, so good; probably the best I've hit it ever in a tournament,” said Fisher. “I just couldn't hole any putts.

“That's where tournaments are won and lost, and unfortunately my putter went cold. It's a shame, but fifth place on my own, it's not bad.

“It's something I'll never forget,” he added. “This is still a new experience for me. It is only my second US Open and I'll take a lot from this and it will make me a better person and player.”

Former Open Championship winner Duval was another to hold the lead at one stage as he fought back from a triple bogey six at the par three third with three successive birdies between the 14th and 16th.

A bogey at the 17th put paid to his hopes, leaving him level with Mickelson and overnight leader Barnes, who recorded seven bogeys in a nightmare final round of 76.

Woods briefly threatened to challenge the leaders with birdies at the 13th and 14th, but a bogey at the 15th followed and he could only manage par on the final three holes.

Hansen joined Woods on level par - the Dane birdieing his final two holes to post a final round of 69 - along with the unfortunate Mahan, whose day was summed up on the 16th hole as a stunning approach shot hit the pin before bouncing off the green.

Sweden’s Henrik Stenson finished the tournament strongly with a round of 68, while Northern Ireland youngster Rory McIlroy matched Stenson’s final round score to be a shot further back on his US Open debut.

“It’s been a great week, a long one, but I feel like I have done very well,” said McIlroy. I have made a great start to my Majors career – 20th in the Masters and then better here, so it’s been a good start.

“I feel I have the game to compete in Majors and those results have given me a lot of confidence.”

Spain’s Sergio Garcia ended the tournament alongside McIlroy on two over following a round of 70, while two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen posted 74 to finish on three over.

England’s Ian Poulter recorded the best round of the day - a superb 67 - to end on four over, the same score as McIlroy’s fellow countryman Graeme McDowell and Swede Peter Hanson who ended with 74s.

Lee Westwood and Oliver Wilson finished on five over following final rounds of 73 and 74 respectively.

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