• US Open, Round Four

Westwood rues bad luck, Tiger in denial

ESPN staff
June 17, 2012

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Plays of the Day: Westwood's tree torment

Lee Westwood saw his chances of victory die as his ball remained up a tree at the fifth. It was a bitter pill to swallow: "It was on the perfect line but it got stuck in the pine needles of the tree. It takes the wind out of your sails, especially as I wasn't making any putts. It was just one of those days, a bit frustrating really."

Graeme McDowell needed to sink a birdie putt on the 18th to force a play-off, but failed to convert his chance. He said "There's a mixture of emotions inside me right now. Obviously disappointment, deflation, pride. But mostly just frustration, just because I hit three fairways today. That's the US Open. You're not supposed to do that. You're supposed to hit it in some fairways. And that was the key today really for me."

Jim Furyk was the man to beat midway through the round, but a slide in concentration at the end of the round cost him. A disappointed Furyk said: "I don't know how to put that one into words, but I had my opportunities and my chances and it was right there. It was, on that back nine, it was my tournament to win and I felt like if win the out there and shot even par, one‑under, I would have distanced myself from the field and I wasn't able to do so.

"And I played quite well, actually until the last three holes. So we'll have to look at holes 70 to 72 of what cost me the tournament."

Ahead of the main contenders, Michael Thompson set the clubhouse target at two-over after a round of 67. He said: "I'm just really happy to be done and in the clubhouse! I was just trying to stick with my routine and treat every shot with the same respect. I felt like I did that down the stretch. I missed the putt at 17 but for the most part I stuck to my gameplan.

"To shot under par at the US Open, on any day, is awesome - and I'm just going to enjoy it."

A bad lie at the 18th ended Padraig Harrington's chances as he finished three-over, although he wasn't too disappointed. He noted: "It's not frustrating at the moment, I really do feel one-over or level will win the tournament so it was of no consequence. I have misjudged these things before, though, and if so I will be devastated - but I thought I needed to make a birdie.

"This is so much easier than regular tournaments. I'm not far away from the lead and I made mental mistakes all over the place this week. Regular tournaments aren't like that."

Tiger Woods finished well down the field at seven-over. When asked if he felt this tournament had got away from him, he said: "Boy, you could say that of a lot of tournaments, can't you? I've finished close in major championships before, so I had a chance this week and I'll get after it in another week.

"I hit the ball all week, really. I didn't really miss it that badly this week. The misses were just a fraction off, which is great. That's what we want to have happen. And this golf course is just so demanding that a fraction off you pay a price."

Woods played with Casey Wittenberg, who beat his illustrious opponent by three shots in the final round as he ended five-over. He said: "Yeah, I mean it's a learning process for me. No doubt. It's always fun to play with Tiger. He's fun to be around and a good person and so it's always fun to watch. So I'll take something from this week and play some good golf the rest of the year."

United States Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III finished nine-over for the tournament after a 69 on Sunday. He said: "It's tough, the course has been set up almost exactly the same every day, same firmness and same green speed. If you make a little mistake you're going to make a bogey, probably, so it's really tough out there. You just have to be cautious and persistent and very patient."

Phil Mickelson (+16) was succinct about his play this week: "If you played anything less than perfect golf it was extremely penalising, and I played far from perfect."

David Toms bounced back from a horrible third round to finish in the top five. He said: "The way I came back today after what happened yesterday, kind of could have thrown in the towel and shot another five or six over today and I was determined to play as well as I could whatever that was and I got into the round and was playing real solid and to shoot under par was a bonus."

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