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It was actually very ironic that we saw trains crisscrossing the US Open venue on a regular basis. I’m just glad none of them took a cue from the players Sunday afternoon and derailed.
The first derailment came from Rory McIlroy. 6 under for the day and staring at a 4 footer for birdie on 14 to go -3 for the tournament. With the reachable par 4 16 coming up as well as the par 5 18th Rory was looking to post a -5 on the board and make the players behind try to match it. But he misses the 4 footer and bogeys 15 and 17 and ends up even for the tournament.
Next comes Brendan Grace. Tied for the lead going to the reachable 16th he looks like he actually tried to hit one of the trains off the tee. His OB leads to a double bogey and his chances were gone. Jordan Speith is next. After a brilliant birdie putt on 16 to go 3 up on the field he butchers the par 3 17th and make a double bogey. He does get it back on the track with a clutch birdie on 18 to get it to -5.
But the biggest derailment is yet to come. Dustin Johnson seemed like a man among boys on Sunday.
Booming drives and seemingly hitting wedges into every par 4. His power game was in full display. It looked like he could have birdied almost every hole on the front side. But DJ has some bad memories in majors. The collapse at Pebble Beach, the wayward 2 iron at the Open Championship and of course the confusion at Whistling Straits.
He stepped to the tee at 17 on Sunday at -3 and realistically knew he had to play the last 2 holes 2 under to have a chance.
What follows are 3 of the best shots hit in the entire tournament. He hits it to 3 feet for birdie on 17, a hole no one could get close to all day. He follows that up with maybe the best tee shot ever hit in a US Open on 18. It enables him to hit a 5 iron into a 600 yard hole that lands 12 feet from the hole. I can’t remember anyone hitting 3 shots like that in a US Open with the tournament on the line. But DJ joins the derailment party and 3 putts and finishes second.
Two shots cover 600 yards but it takes 3 to go 12 feet. It just doesn’t seem fair. But the US Open usually isn’t.