Former Blazer Graeme McDowell finished just short of winning his second career U.S. Open title, settling for second place instead.
June 17, 2012
SAN FRANCISCO - Former UAB men's golfer Graeme McDowell missed a 24-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole which would have forced a playoff, and closed play in second overall at the 112th U.S. Open at the Olympic Club.
McDowell, the 2010 U.S. Open champion, held a share of the lead with Jim Furyk at the start of the day. However, he missed the fairway on eight consecutive holes in one stretch but still gave himself a chance to tie after a birdie on the 17th.
Had McDowell sunk the long putt on No. 18, it would have forced an 18-hole playoff with Webb Simpson on Monday.
"It was an outside opportunity that obviously I desperately would love to have holed," McDowell said of his final birdie attempt.
Simpson carded a final round 68 to finish play at 1-over par for the 72-hole event and celebrated his first career major championship win. Instead, McDowell was forced to settle for a second-place tie with Michael Thompson, an Alabama graduate, at two-over par 282.
"This is sort of a new experience for me, finishing second at a major championship, but I would rather have tried and failed than have never tried at all," McDowell told reporters following Sunday's final round. "Today has reinforced to me that I can compete and win more major championships."
McDowell, UAB's 2002 Haskins Award winner, opened the event with a 69 on Thursday, followed by a 72 on Friday, a 68 on Saturday and a 73 on Sunday. He was one of just five golfers in the 156-man field to have shot two rounds in the 60s.
UAB men's golf coach Alan Kaufman followed McDowell, a two-time All-American while at UAB, throughout the weekend, just as he did when McDowell claimed the 110th U.S. Open title at Pebble Beach in 2010.