Angel Cabrera shot a final round 69 to win the US Open by one shot from Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk. The 38-year-old becomes the first Argentinean to lift the trophy after firing the only under-par round of the top 15 finishers. He also became the only man in the field to shoot two under-par rounds during the Championship.
In an epic back nine struggle, despite all three men appearing to be in pole positions at different stages, it was Cabrera, playing a group ahead of Furyk and three ahead of Woods, who never gave up the lead. A birdie on the par-4 11th, followed by a pitch to four-feet on the 15th for a second birdie, gave the big Argentine a two-shot lead. Two consecutive bogeys followed as the nerves started to strangle Cabrera?s previous fluency but he held his nerve down the 18th , firing a courageous approach to 20ft and two putting for a par. This left a clubhouse target of a five-over par total of 285. Something that neither Woods nor Furyk could match.
?It?s very difficult to describe how I feel and it?s probably not going to sink in until I wake up tomorrow morning with this trophy next to me in bed,? said a euphoric Cabrera. ?I never thought this was possible, I never dreamt of this.?
It was all nearly so different as both Woods and Furyk had their chances to at least force a play-off or even claim the title outright. After, Cabrera?s wobble on 16 and 17, Furyk stood on the tee of the driveable 17th tied with the Argentine. In a bold move Furyk unleashed the driver on the 313-yard par-4. A slight tug left put him deep in the spongy rough and a bogey became inevitable, with his ball sat low ? something that surprised the world number three. ?I have been hitting driver there a lot this week and I have never reached the really deep stuff there, so I was really shocked that I got there.? Another tug left at the 18th confirmed that it was to be the second consecutive US Open runners-up spot for Furyk.
That left Tiger Woods as the only man in place to deny Cabrera. The world number one has been hitting greens for fun all week but finding putting extremely difficult. However, down the final stretch it was his inability to give himself a makeable chance that cost him dear. He left himself a 90-footer on the par-3 16th for birdie but it was at the tricky 17th that it came to a head. A drive into the left-hand greenside bunker left him with plenty of green to work with and a good chance of a three. But it wasn?t to be. ?I hit a great shot, it felt fantastic until I felt a stone or something on my follow-through and all the spin went,? explained Tiger afterwards. The ball ran through the green and suddenly Tiger was struggling for par.
The crowds gathered at 18 to see if Woods could find the birdie he needed to force a play-off. With the hole playing the toughest of any all day, giving up just four birdies in the final round, it was always a tall ask. A booming drive left Woods with 154 yards to the pin ? a sand wedge. However, it was nestling up against the second cut of rough and despite hitting a towering shot, he left himself with a 17ft, snaking downhill putt.
?I just didn?t make enough birdie putts all week,? said a deflated Woods, before adding, ?Angel played a beautiful round of golf today. I saw the highlights and he managed to spin it out of the rough. He went out there and put all the pressure on Jim and I and we fell one shot short.?
The last word goes to El Pato, ?the duck?, (a nickname he picked up from his father), and forty years after compatriot Roberto Di Vicenzo defeated the best player in the world, Jack Nicklaus, to lift the Open Championship at Hoylake, so Cabrera has defied Tiger Woods to lift the US Open Championship.