ARDMORE, Pa. — Justin Rose could see all the pieces coming together in this U.S. Open.
The sun was breaking through the clouds Sunday evening at Merion as he stood in the 18th fairway with a one-shot lead. That famous Ben Hogan plaque was in front of him, a road marker bronze that one pure swing and two putts might be all that stood between Rose and his first major championship.
That and Phil Mickelson in the final group behind him.
Rose followed his script to perfection with a par. So did Mickelson, who can't seem to win a U.S. Open no matter how hard he tries.
Rose drilled a 4-iron just through the green and used a 3-wood to bunt the ball to an inch of the cup for par. Mickelson, who made two careless bogeys on the back nine, needed a birdie on an 18th hole that didn't yield a single one all weekend at Merion.
"What a piece of silverware to be sitting to my right," Rose said, gazing at the shiny trophy after closing with an even-par 70. "It's just an incredible experience and a childhood dream come true at this point."
It was a recurring nightmare for Mickelson, extending his record collection of silver medals in the major he covets.
"Heartbreak," Mickelson said on his 43rd birthday. "This is tough to swallow after coming so close. This was my best chance of all. I had a golf course I really liked. I felt this was as good as opportunity as you could ask for. It really hurts."
With remarkable poise and three pure swings under pressure, Rose became the first Englishman in 43 years to win America's national championship.
Mickelson extended his U.S. Open record with his sixth runner-up finish, and this one stung. It was the first time he had the outright lead going into the final round. He holed a wedge out of deep rough for an eagle to take back the lead as he headed to the back nine.