In what wound up being a dramatic four-man chase to the finish, Justin Rose won the 2013 U.S. Open by shooting an even-par 70 Sunday to finish plus-one overall, with an aggregate score of 281 over Merion Golf Club's grueling 72-hole test.
It was the 32-year-old's maiden major triumph, as he beat 54-hole leader Phil Mickelson and Jason Day by two strokes.
CBS Sports' Kyle Porter captured the key moments at the conclusion of Rose's magnificent run:
Rose, champion. https://t.co/xoKFMGXI7V— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) June 16, 2013
Many of the leaders were eaten alive by Merion, but it was Rose who was able to emerge with the victory. Holes 14 through 18 are the most brutal test, and the South Africa-born Englishman bought some insurance by birdieing Nos. 12 and 13, capping off that stretch with this wonderful putt:
Although Rose—the world No. 5 coming into the tournament—three-putted for bogey at the par-four 16th, he made two clutch pars down the stretch, capped off by nearly holing out for birdie at the closing hole with a fairway metal from just off the putting surface:
Golf Digest's Dan Jenkins noted how significant a feat it would have been:
Eleven birdies all week at 18--none today, and zero in the third round.— Dan Jenkins (@danjenkinsgd) June 16, 2013
Justin Ray of ESPN highlighted the historical context of Rose's win at America's national championship:
Justin Rose: first Englishman to win U.S. Open since Tony Jacklin in 1970.— Justin Ray (@JRayESPNGolf) June 16, 2013
Mickelson had a characteristically roller-coaster round, with two double bogeys in the first five holes, then a hole-out for eagle from the par-four 10th fairway that put him in sole possession of first:
Unfortunately, Lefty had to settle for a record sixth runner-up finish and a round of 74, tying Australia's Jason Day, who was sniffing the lead all day but bogeyed three of his last eight to fall out of the hunt.
Golf Channel's Jason Sobel characterized the thrilling ride for Phil:
Phil Mickelson had the lead, lost it, got it back, lost it again. Holed out from rough, bogeyed shortest hole. Most Mickelsonian round ever.— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) June 16, 2013
ESPN's Rick Reilly alluded to Rose's singles victory over Mickelson in which he drained three clutch putts down the stretch. Sure enough, Rose did wind up playing the role of heartbreaker, but the 32-year-old Englishman was long overdue for a major championship himself, while Mickelson's already won four:
Rose poured in three cab rides on 16, 17 and 18 to beat Phil Mickelson in the Ryder Cup. Now he's trying to break his heart again. #USOPen— Rick Reilly (@ReillyRick) June 16, 2013
Ardmore, Pennsylvania's historic course, was thought to be gettable with rain earlier in the tournament, and it even rained again when the leaders were on the back nine in the final round.
Final group competitor Hunter Mahan failed to birdie all day long, and having entered the last round leading the field in putting, he couldn't capitalize on any looks at birdie. He missed a short bogey putt at the par-four 15th to seal his fate.