Golf's second major of the year proved more climactic than the first, but the same person came out on top. Jordan Spieth emerged as the 2015 US Open Champion with a 5-under score of 275. The victory is Spieth's second consecutive major victory after the Master's in April, and puts him halfway toward a grand slam.
The story of the tournament started out to be more about the golf course than the golfers playing the course. Players, commentators, and spectators all had choice words about Chambers Bay. But the story quickly changed during the last round.
Jordan Spieth walked off the 16th hole sporting a three-stroke lead, after playing partner and fellow co-leader Branden Grace hit a drive OB and carded a double-bogey and Spieth drained a clutch birdie putt.
— Ben Gibson Jr. (@bengibson1994) June 22, 2015
Spieth ran into trouble himself though at 17, scoring a double-bogey as Dustin Johnson and Louis Oosthuizen pulled into a tie at -4. Oosthuizen birdied 6 of the final 7 holes, and Johnson recovered from bogeys on 10, 11, and 13 to birdie 17.
Spieth recovered on the Par-5 18th hole, hitting the green in two and two-putting to a birdie. That put Spieth clear of Oosthuizen, but left the window open for Johnson. All Johnson needed was an eagle to win, and a birdie to force an 18-hole playoff. Like Spieth, Johnson hit the green in two and was left with a 12-footer for eagle. His playing partner Jason Day finished up, setting the stage for Johnson. He was the last one on the course, and the general public probably was thinking worse-case a playoff would occur. After all, a two-putt is all that was needed to stay in the hunt.
This is a crazy finish #USOpen2015 #ChambersBay
— Towson Club Golf (@TowsonClubGolf1) June 22, 2015
Johnson sized up the eagle putt as Spieth waited in the clubhouse. The putt missed left, rolling four-feet past the hole. Johnson had 85.6% accuracy from 3-5 feet, so the general thought was still a playoff. But it wasn't a gimme by any means.
still work left DJ..
— T. Hill (@TylerHill319) June 22, 2015
Not wasting anytime, Johnson quickly hit one of the biggest putts so far in his career. It slipped just left of the hole, securing the victory for Spieth. Johnson tapped in for par and a T-2 finish, but the heartbreak was evident. I experienced it watching from my living room couch, as did many others watching at home. Here's some reactions by a few NCCGA students.
— David Stein (@bigguylloydDS) June 22, 2015
— Ryan Walker (@RWalk24) June 22, 2015
— Samuel Jones (@SamuelB_Jones) June 22, 2015
The victory for Spieth, who is just 21-years old, put him in some historic company. Spieth became the youngest US Open Champion since 1923, the youngest to win two majors since 1922, and the 6th person to ever win the Masters and US Open back-to-back (Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan, and Craig Wood). He's halfway to a Grand Slam, and golf has some star power at the top of the rankings. Sit back and enjoy golf fans!
**Travis Richardson is a Zone Manager for the NCCGA, supporting schools on both the East and West Coasts. Reach him on Twitter @travis_richson.