New York, June 22 – Unlikely major champion Lucas Glover snapped a four-year victory drought on Monday by winning the 109th US Open while Phil Mickelson settled for a record-setting fifth runner-up finish.
Glover struggled to a three-over 73 final round at wind-whipped Bethpage Black but hung on to finish 72 holes on four-under par 276 for a two-stroke victory over Mickelson and fellow Americans Ricky Barnes and David Duval.
"I’ve never been there in a major and maybe that was motivation for me to prove it to myself that I did belong," Glover said. "I played good under pressure and I’m happy with myself."
Glover, whose only prior PGA title came at the 2005 Disney Classic when he holed out from a bunker, missed the cut in his three prior US Opens and his best finish in 11 prior major starts was a share of 20th at the 2007 Masters.
"I guess if I can win this one, I should be able to play all right every week," Glover said. "It will definitely be a big confidence boost."
Glover, who only qualified two weeks ago, dropped a five-foot birdie putt at the 16th and parred in while Mickelson and Duval stumbled with bogeys on 17.
"That was huge. To get one close and sneak it in was pretty good momentum," Glover said. "Two pars at the end was pretty tough but I managed to do it."
Three-time major winner Mickelson, playing in his last event before wife Amy begins breast cancer treatment next month, endured the heartbreak of a record fifth runner-up finish at the US Open and second at Bethpage after 2002.
"It was a lot of ups and downs for me, fighting to get back in it. It was an emotional five days," Mickelson said. "I want to win this tournament badly. I feel I will have more chances."
Mickelson eagled the par-5 13th to match Glover for the lead but bogeys at 15 and 17, the latter on a four-foot par miss, doomed his trophy bid.
"I put myself in a great position to close it out but I didn’t finish it off," Mickelson said. "Certainly I’m disappointed but now that it’s over I have more important things going on."
World number one Tiger Woods made four birdies and three bogeys in a final-round 69 to finish on level par 280 and share sixth place.
"I didn’t make the putts," Woods said. "I gave myself so many chances and I made nothing. My good ones aren’t going in but my bad ones aren’t even close."
Woods, never a major winner when not at least sharing the 54-hole lead, failed in his bid for a 15th major win, a record-tying fourth US Open crown and to become the first man to defend all four major titles.
Brisk winds, tricky pin placements and increased tension turned Bethpage Black from the rain-softened pushover it was most of the week into the extremely difficult course its first-tee warning sign proclaims.
"It was a test of patience for sure. It was tough. I was very pleased to get in where I was," Glover said. "I’m excited and happy I hung in there."
Glover began the day level with Barnes five strokes ahead of the rest of the field but Barnes collapsed and Glover had bogeys at three, five and nine that opened the door for a host of rivals.
"My nerves got in the way of my swing but I held it together," Glover said.
Another bogey at the 15th, his first three-putt green of the week, added to the tension, but Glover’s birdie at 16 was his first since the same hole in Sunday’s third round and produced the edge he needed.
"One 3-putt around here for the week is pretty good," Glover said. "I had a feeling if I got in the fairway and made some putts I could do something."
Duval, the 2001 British Open champion who has not won in nearly eight years, collected his first top-10 finish since 2002.
"I’m pleased with how I played but disappointed at where I finished. I came here to win," Duval said. "It may be arrogance but it’s where I feel like I belong."
Duval, playing on a last-chance PGA exemption, was happy to see some reward for the work he has done to rebuild his game, but lamented the lip-out on 17 from three feet that left Glover two strokes clear of the field.
"I have some improvements to make still but I’m pleased with the work I’ve put in," he said. "I’m pleased to have some semblance of a result even though I came up one spot short."
England’s Ross Fisher fired a 72 to finish fifth on 279 but came up short in a bid to be Europe’s first US Open champion since Englishman Tony Jacklin in 1970.
Heavy rains Thursday and Saturday made the course unplayable and led to the massive schedule disruption which pushed the finish to Monday.