Featured photo: Dustin Johnson was all smiles after winning his first major tournament. (Photo by: Lawrence Aylward)
According to Dustin Johnson, Oakmont Country Club got its mojo back on Sunday. But Johnson did, too, and won the U.S. Open, his first major championship.
The course, which was playing as firm and fast as an asphalt parking lot earlier in the week for practice rounds, was softened by 3 inches of rain on Thursday and Friday, the first two days of the tournament, which led to lower scores by the field. The course still played soft on Saturday, and Shane Lowry took advantage by shooting a 5-under par 65. Lowry took a four-shot lead into the final day over Johnson and Andrew Landry.
But when Lowry stumbled early on Sunday afternoon, Johnson took advantage and made up ground quickly. When the day was over, Lowry shot a 6-over-par 76 and Johnson a 1-under 69, and Johnson won the tournament at 4-under par.
Clearly, Johnson negotiated a tougher Oakmont on Sunday better than Lowry.
“Today, the course finally started to get a bit of heat,” Johnson said.
While Oakmont’s Poa greens were fast every day of the tournament, Johnson said they were even faster on Sunday.
“With the pins they had out there, I thought the golf course played really difficult,” he said. “It was really hard to get it close to the hole.”
Johnson has come close to winning a major before (including last year’s U.S. Open), but ended up as the heartbreak kid. This time, it was Lowry in that role.
“Bitterly disappointed,” Lowry said after the tournament. “And, you know, it’s not easy to get yourself in a position I got myself in today. It was there for the taking, and I didn’t take it.”