An errant tee shot and a 54-hole deficit that was a bridge too far were Adam Scott’s greatest regrets as he logged his fifth consecutive top-20 finish at a Major championship at the 119th US Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Despite being 0-for-7 in his career when owning the lead through 54 holes, Gary Woodland held off a courageous effort from Brooks Koepka – who was chasing his third straight US Open – to claim his maiden Major title by three strokes, completing the coronation with a stunning birdie from 30 feet at Pebble’s iconic 18th hole.
A three-under par round of 68 saw Scott finish as the leading Australian in a tie for seventh at six-under for the week but midway through his round he was in position to add to his 2013 Masters triumph.
A birdie at the par-4 third got momentum in the right direction, followed by a spectacular eagle at the par-5 sixth where Scott hit his second shot from 239 yards to inside 15 feet and made the putt.
Further birdies at nine, 10 and 12 had Scott six-under for his round and in a tie for fourth before disaster struck on the 13th tee.
The Queenslander hit just six of 14 fairways in the final round but none were as costly as the miss on 13 that went way right and out-of-bounds, resulting in a double-bogey six.
He had eight one-putt greens through his first 12 holes but Scott’s propensity to miss tiddlers reared its head at the 16th where he missed the hole completely to the left from three feet, Scott recovering to make the return putt from seven feet.
A missed par putt from six feet led to another bogey at the par-3 17th and left the 38-year-old lamenting another near thing at a Major championship.
“I made a terrible swing off the 13th hole. I don’t know why,” Scott said immediately following his round.
“I’ve played so many of these you can never force anything at the US Open. I didn’t force it to get to where I was, I just made a poor swing.
“A little disappointing to finish at six-under when I was standing on the 13th tee at nine-under. And of course you know that if you can just get it in the clubhouse, you never know what can happen. Standing here straight off the green I’m very disappointed in myself, but there was lots of good stuff this week – an enjoyable week on the golf course here for sure.”
Buoyed by his continued strong results in Major championships, Scott won’t play another tournament until the Open Championship at Royal Portrush, where he hopes to go toe-to-toe with this week’s runner-up and the dominant figure in Majors at present, Brooks Koepka.
“He’s definitely found the recipe to make himself perform at the big ones,” Scott said of Koepka’s title defence.
“I respect him a lot. For him to be in contention four or five times and have won four, certainly envy that, because it’s been kind of the other way for me. And I look forward to the next time I’m in there. I don’t care if Brooks is there, I’m happy to have a crack at him. I just need to be a little bit closer going into a Sunday at one of these things. I think that’s really the big takeaway. And I’ll be working on that.
“But I like where my game is at, and I think I just have to keep working really hard at it and stay hungry.”
Jason Day produced his best round of the week on Sunday to finish tied for 21st at two-under par with both Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith shooting one-over 72 to finish tied for 35th and tied for 72nd respectively.
119th US Open
Pebble Beach Golf Links, California
T-7 Adam Scott 70-69-71-68—278
T-21 Jason Day 70-73-70-69—282
T-35 Marc Leishman69-74-70-72—285
T-72 Cameron Smith 71-72-77-72—292
MC Matt Jones 74-71—145
MC Ryan Fox 74-73—147
MC Aaron Baddeley 72-75—147
MC Daniel Hillier (a)76-73—149
MC Marcus Fraser 73-79—152
MC Brett Drewitt 77-76—153