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June 16, 2013

Rose wins US Open, more heartache for Mickelson

(Continued)

ARDMORE, Pa. —

"I couldn't help but look up at the heavens and think my old man Ken had something to do with it," Rose said.

It seems like more than 15 years ago when Rose first starred on the major scene as a 17-year-old amateur who chipped in on the final hole at Royal Birkdale in the 1998 British Open and tied for fourth. He turned pro the next week, and then missed the cut in his first 21 tournaments. But he stayed the course and slowly picked off big tournaments — including the AT&T National in 2010 just down the road at Aronimink.

The U.S. Open takes him to another level and moves him to No. 3 in the world.

Tiger Woods turned out to be nothing more than an afterthought. He hit out-of-bounds on his second hole and made triple bogey, and closed with a 74 to finish at 13-over 293, his worst score as a pro in the U.S. Open, and matching his worst score in any major.

The score wasn't nearly that bad considering the golf course, with its tricky contours on the greens and punishing rough.

Mickelson wore all black when he arrived for the final round, and in a brief TV interview he said, "The best for me is to play well and have fun."

Sunday at the U.S. Open is rarely fun.

Just ask Donald, who was only two shots behind starting the final round. It all crumbled when he pulled his tee shot on the par-3 third hole — so long and hard that Donald hit a driver — and struck a standard-bearer. She was on the ground for several minutes, and Donald appeared visibly shaken. He shot 42 on the back nine.

Steve Stricker took his lumps on one hole, and it was ugly. One shot behind, he pushed his tee shot on the par-5 second hole out-of-bounds. After hitting the next tee shot into the fairway, he tried to lay up with a 4-iron and hit a shank out-of-bounds. Stricker had to make a 7-foot putt to escape with a triple-bogey 8.

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