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  • US Open, Round Four

Westwood left barking up the wrong tree

ESPN staff
June 17, 2012
Lee Westwood's chances died at the fifth © Getty Images
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2012 US Open Leaderboard

Report: Simpson secures first major
US Open gallery: Webb's win
What They Said: Tiger upbeat

Tiger Trauma

In a share of the lead at the halfway stage, just 24 holes later Tiger Woods found himself tied for a lowly 39th at Olympic Club. The 14-time major champion began his final round in the following fashion: Bogey, bogey, double-bogey, par, bogey, bogey. By then he was well out of contention.

The major drought (currently four years and counting) continues for El Tigre, then.

Breaks of the game

Lee Westwood's chances of victory really died at the fifth, and through very little fault of his own. A slightly wayward drive off the tee found a tree hugging the right-hand side of the fairway - a tree so nice that Westwood's ball decided it would prefer to spend a little more time there.

Westwood went down to the site of his impending disaster but the ball did not fall from the canopy within the time-limit, forcing the Englishman to return to hit his third shot back from the tee. A double-bogey was the result; the death of his victory chances was the outcome.

Fourteen years earlier, in 1998, the exact same thing happened to Lee Janzen at the very same hole (and, quite possibly, in the very same tree). On that occasion, however, the ball dropped out as Janzen went on to win - although that will probably be of absolutely no consolation to Westwood.

'I'm a Hossler, baby, I just want you to know…'

After saying he was playing to win coming into the final round, 17-year-old Beau Hossler couldn't quite live up to his talk as he eventually finished nine-over for the tournament. Nevertheless, it was a remarkable four days for the high school student.

Texas Forever

Hossler's final total meant Jordan Spieth actually claimed low amateur honours. Both teenagers are set to play together at the University of Texas next year, as Hossler graduates early from high school. Something tells us the Longhorns are going to have a pretty solid team...

The long and the short of it

Webb Simpson thrust himself into contention around the turn on Sunday, thanks to a remarkable run of four birdies in five holes. Thanks to a clutch par at the next the likeable American also completed a run of six consecutive one-putts using his distinctive belly-putter. From six-over to two-over in a remarkably short stretch, Simpson's putting brought him right back into contention - and eventually saw him clinch victory.

Age is just a number

John Peterson, one of the surprise packages this week, went to Louisiana State University in recent years before attempting to make his name as a professional. David Toms graduated from the same university a couple of months after Peterson was born in 1989; yet there they both were on the leaderboard on Sunday, Peterson finishing three-over and Toms right with him.

The haves and have nots

At one point midway through the back nine, there were five past major champions (Furyk, McDowell, Harrington, Els and Toms) in the top eight in San Francisco. Prior to this week, the other three players (Simpson, Peterson and Thompson) had played in six majors between them. Now that's what you call a difference in experience.

Fried egg lie sees chances scrambled

The look said it all. Padraig Harrington (then two-over) walked up to the 18th green taking the adulation of the crowd, confident he had a chance of victory if he could just get up-and-down for par from the greenside bunker. Then the Irishman saw his lie. His face immediately fell, with the inescapable realisation that the buried lie in the sand gave him almost no chance of escaping with his four. After a valiant effort, the 72nd hole was where his slim hopes of a fourth major title finally died.
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