New York’s large and vociferous army of golf fans descended on Bethpage Black to see two of their unheralded countrymen lead a world-class US Open field.
Lucas Glover and Ricky Barnes distanced themselves from the rest with a blend of power and accuracy that is the hallmark of a golfer in form. But winning a Major requires more than sweet ball-striking and a deft touch and as the final day pressure mounted, 28-year-old Barnes wilted with six bogeys in seven holes through the middle of his round. Glover, by contrast, desperately clung onto the lead. His level par back nine, which included a crucial birdie on the par-4 16th, was enough to keep him two shots ahead of the chasing pack. This was the first time Glover had made the cut at the US Open and his victory moved him from 71st to 18th in the world rankings.
The story of this US Open was nearly very different. At the start of the week, Phil Mickelson announced he would take a break from golf after the event to support his wife Amy, who had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. The 39-year-old responded to the crowd’s encouragement with an impressive four-round score of two-under-par. In the end it wasn’t enough and Mickelson had to settle for his fifth second-place finish at the US Open.
Sharing second with Mickelson and Barnes was the unlikely figure of David Duval. The former world number one had not contended for a Major since winning the Open in 2001 but showed all the skill and mettle that had previously taken him to the top of the game.