2010 US Open Golf Championship
Graeme McDowell created history by becoming the first man from Northern Ireland to win a Major Golf Tournament; he also became the first European since, Tony Jacklin in 1970 to win the US Open. It was a remarkable performance by the 30 year old, who had only one week earlier won the Welsh Open at Celtic Manor, venue for the 2010 Ryder Cup.
McDowell was the only player in the field not to be beaten by par, finishing level after four extremely testing rounds on the Pebble Beach links. Behind him by just one shot was a second European, Gregory Havret from France, while one shot further back in third, was twice winner, Ernie Els.
The top Americans were world number two and reigning US Masters Champion, Phil Mickelson, who has finished second five times in this tournament without having ever won it. He had to be content with 4th place this time alongside world number one, Tiger Woods, who yet again showed that his real competitive nature still surfaces when it comes to Major tournaments.
McDowell in fact was lying in a tie for 10th place after the first round, but was only two shots adrift of joint leaders, Paul Casey of England, Brendan de Jonge of Zimbabwe and former PGA Champion, Shaun Micheel.
A big group of six players were sharing 4th place, just one behind, which included KJ Choi of S Korea and Ian Poulter of England, both of whom featured prominently in the 2010 US Masters.
Sharing 10th with McDowell was a third Englishman, Luke Donald, 2010 AT&T winner, Dustin Johnson and former PGA Champion, David Tomes.
Round One Leaderboard
1st – 69 (-2), Paul Casey, Brendon de Jonge, Shaun Micheels
4th – 70 (-1), Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Alex Cejka, KJ Choi, Ryo Ishikawa, Ian Poulter, Mike Weir
10th – 71 (P), Luke Donald, Dustin Johnson, Graeme McDowell, David Toms
By the conclusion of the second round, McDowell had grabbed the lead by two strokes after an outstanding round of 68. The score put him three under par, but moving to within two shots of him were Mickelson, who blitzed the course with a 66, after shooting a first round, 75. The ’Big Easy’Ernie Els, also fired a great low round of 68 and there were solid rounds too completed by Dustin Johnson and Ryo Ishikawa of Japan.
Round Two Leaderboard
1st – 139 (-3), Graeme McDowell
2nd –141 (-1), Ernie Els, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Ryo Ishikawa
6th – 142 (P), Paul Casey, Alex Cejka, Brendon de Jonge, Jerry Kelly
10th – 143 (+1), KJ Choi, Soren Kjeldsen, Ian Poulter
Following a fantastic round of 66, which put him on six under, it was Dustin Johnson who zoomed to the top of the leaderboard at the end of the third day at Pebble Beach. The 26 year old American, went three shots clear of McDowell, who had remained in second place, courtesy of a solid round of 71.
Ominously however, also shooting a 66, was the three time champion and world number one, Tiger Woods. The round put Tiger into outright third place and although five behind Johnson, he was made favourite to win the tournament.
Mickelson failed to maintain the momentum he created in Round two and fired an erratic 73, leaving him seven shots off the lead and effectively out of contention. Ernie Els however and Frenchman, Gregory Havret, finished tying for 4th place on level par.
Round Three Leaderboard
1st – 207 (-6), Dustin Johnson
2nd – 210 (-3), Graeme McDowell
3rd – 212 (-1), Tiger Woods
4th – 213 (P), Ernie Els, Gregory Havret
6th – 214 (+1), Phil Mickelson
As much as Graeme McDowell will remember his final round, Dustin Johnson will want to forget his after shooting a disastrous 82, which left his otherwise superb performance at Pebble Beach in tatters. Johnson in the end, had to be content with a tie for 8th place on five over par.
McDowell however held himself together in very difficult conditions, where his final round of 74 was just enough to give him the title, due mainly to the chasing pack not being able to put together a winning round between them. Only Havret was able to close the gap on McDowell, but his solid round of 72, which was better than playing partner’s, Tiger Woods, was not quite enough to get him into a play-off.
McDowell had therefore won his biggest ever event, a win that launched him up into 13th place in the world rankings. It also means that he is more or less certain of a Ryder Cup place this year and will be amongst the favourites in the 2010 Open Championship Betting.
Final Round Leaderboard
1st – 284 (Par) – 71, 68, 71, 74 – Graeme McDowell
2nd – 285 (+1) – 73, 71, 69, 72 – Gregory Havret
3rd – 286 (+2) – 73, 71, 69, 73 – Ernie Els
The scores of the rest of the top ten were as follows:
4th (+3), Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson
6th (+4), Matt Kuchar, Davis Love
8th (+5), Dustin Johnson, Martin Kaymer, Brandt Snedeker