WORLD No5 Justin Rose ended England’s 17-year wait for a Major winner by clinching the US Open title at Merion Golf Club last night.
Not since Sir Nick Faldo paraded the victor’s green jacket around Augusta so proudly when he won the Masters in 1996 has an Englishman triumphed at one of golf’s four showpiece events.
But Rose, who trailed by three shots going into the final round, showed nerves of steel on the putting green to hole back-to-back birdies on six and seven, then 12 and 13, to win by two shot from Phil Mickelson.
The 32-year-old missed a birdie on the 18th by inches, but after tapping in for par looked to the heavens and afterwards paid tribute to his dad Ken, who lost his battle with cancer at the age of 57, almost 11 years ago.
“What a day, and on fathers’ day too,” said Rose. “I looked up on the 18th and I was thinking about my dad. I’m thrilled.”
Mickelson made a nightmare start to his round with a double bogey on the third hole. However the six-time runner up, celebrating his 43rd birthday, birdied the fourth to regain a share of the lead.
Another double at the fifth looked to have been costly, but a magnificent eagle on the 10th put the American back in contention.
Bogeys on the 13th and 15th though derailed his challenge to win a fifth Major and ensured Rose of glory.
The difficulty of the Philadelphia course was emphasised by world No1 Tiger Woods’s card.
The three-time winner of the US Open shot four over par yesterday to end the week 13 over, his highest four-day final score at a Major.
Despite the testing surroundings, Mickelson’s playing partner, Hunter Mahan, managed to hold his nerve on the front nine, with a bogey at six the only blemish.
Mahan’s super-consistent round fell apart on the 15th though, where he required three putts on the par four to fall two shots behind the leader.
Further back in the field Australia’s Jason Day took a share of the lead when he birdied the 10th.
He chipped into the water on 11, yet recovered for a bogey. But dropped further shots at the 14th and the last.
+1: Justin Rose (ENG)
+3: Phil Mickelson (US)
+3: Jason Day (AUS)
+5: Hunter Mahan (US)
+5: Jason Dufner (US)
+5: Ernie Els (SA)
+5: Billy Horschel (US)
+6: Luke Donald (ENG)
+6: Steve Stricker (US)
+7: Hideki Matsuyama (JAP)
+7: Nicolas Colsaerts (BLEL)
+7: Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (SPA)
+7: Rickie Fowler (US)
+8: Charl Schwartzel (SA)
+9: Lee Westwood (ENG)