Geoff Ogilvy wins U.S. Open

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Geoff Ogilvy. Courtesy of the USGA.

Today, at Winged Foot Golf Club, in Mamaroneck, New York, Geoff Ogilvy won the 106th U.S. Open with a score of 285, 5 over par. Jim Furyk, Colin Montgomerie, and Phil Mickelson all tied for second place one stroke behind at 6 over. Ogilvy, born in Adelaide, Australia took home almost $1.25 million dollars. Other notable scores include Vijay Singh at a tie for 6th at 8 over, David Duval making a comeback at a tie for 16th place at 11 over, Adam Scott at a tie for 21st at 12 over and Ernie Els tying for 26th at 13 over.

Defending champion Michael Campbell of New Zealand, Retief Goosen, and Tiger Woods all missed the cut in the hardest U.S. Open in a long time - the worst Open on record was also at Winged Foot in 1974, where winner Hale Irwin shot 7 over. This was Tiger's first tournament since his father's death on May 9, although he said in a press conference that there was no excuse for his awful playing. Woods said of his poor playing, "I don't care if you had what transpired in my life of recent or not, but poor execution is never going to feel very good."

Ogilvy came in to the clubhouse, almost sure of his second place. But Phil Mickelson's double bogey at the 18th hole gave Ogilvy a boost in the leaderboard, bringing him to first. He said later, "I thought, Make this and come in second in the Open on your own. I never thought Phil would make bogey at the last. He ended up making double, and it's got to be a hard one to swallow for Phil, because he's obviously been the outstanding player at majors in the last eight or nine months." Mickelson only hit 2 out of 14 fairways on Sunday and 24 out of 56 total. He managed to scramble out in the first three rounds, but the course fought back on Sunday. His tee shot at the final hole went far left. He played the shot very aggressively and ended up hitting a tree and putting the ball only 25 yards farther. It just got worse from there for Mickelson. His third shot ended up buried in the left greenside bunker. His fourth went back over the green and into the rough. He chipped out and one-putted for the catastrophic double bogey that cost him the championship.

Ogilvy didn't win purely by Mickelson's double bogey, though. He saved par on the 17th with a chip-in from the rough, and overcame a few tough shots to save par at the 18th. His last two US Opens resulted in a missed cut in 2003 at a tie for 28th last year. His win this year at the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship set him up for the first Australian major win since Steve Elkington at the 1995 PGA Championship.

Besides Mickelson, there are quite a few other contenders who are not going to forget today - or the vicious 18th hole - for a while. Colin Montgomerie made a remarkable comeback after a poor round yesterday, holing a 75-footer for birdie at the 17th hole. His second shot, from 172 yards away in the fairway, went far right into a very deep cut of rough. His third shot went 40 feet past the hole. He put his par putt 10 feet from the hole, missed that putt, and went on to also make double bogey. Jim Furyk hit a bunker shot to 5 feet on the 18th, but two-putted and came up one stroke short of Oglivy. Padraig Harrington, who ended up in sole fifth at 7 over, went bogey-free for 15 holes and bogeyed the last three to fall out of contention. And of course, there's Kenneth Ferrie, who started the day out tied with Mickelson for the lead. He just crashed the whole day, making 6 bogeys and no birdies to fall to a tie for 6th at 8 over.

A summary? The Mickelslam is no more, and another newcomer has made his statement at the 2006 US Open. No one can deny that Winged Foot has provided yet again a challenge that has beaten even the best of players.