Justin Rose wins Open, with Mickelson second for sixth time
ARDMORE, Pa. - Justin Rose pointed to the sky and shed a few tears. Phil Mickelson could only point to himself, swallow hard and talk about heartbreak again and again.
Rose won the 113th U.S. Open on a course that took willingly, gave grudgingly and left the bewildered Mickelson a runner-up for a sixth time in America's national golfing championship.
In becoming the first Englishman to win the Open in 43 years, Rose battled on with an even-par 70 Sunday. That left him at 1 over par for the tournament, at 281, but it also left him ahead of everyone else.
Mickelson, who began the round with a one-shot lead but shot a 1-over 74, and the Australian Jason Day, with a 1-over 71, tied for second at 283. Charl Schwartzel, who briefly tied Mickelson on the first hole, collapsed with a 78.
"The look up to the heavens was absolutely for my dad," Rose, 32, said. Ken Rose, a huge influence in his son's life and even at times his caddie, died of cancer at age 57 in 2002.
"You don't have opportunities to really dedicate a win to someone you lose," Rose said, "and today was about him and being Father's Day . . . I was trying to keep it together, but that was my time. The clouds had parted."
Sunday also was Mickelson's 43rd birthday, and there would be no special present of an Open. This time, as on the four previous occasions the tournament was at Merion, in the leafy, tony suburbs of Philadelphia, the third-round leader failed to win.
"I think this was my best chance," said Mickelson, who has won four majors, including the Masters three times.
"I think the way I was playing heading in, the position I was in, the way I love this golf course. It gave me chances to make birdies. I didn't really make any.
"But this one's probably the toughest for me, because at 43 and coming so close five times, it would have changed the way I look at this tournament altogether and the way I would have looked at my record. Except I just keep feeling heartbreak."
Rose had a different type of heartbreak. After finishing fourth overall and low amateur in the 1998 British Open at Royal Birkdale, he turned pro at age 17 and promptly missed 22 straight cuts on the European Tour. But he improved enough to join the PGA Tour and had won four times, including a tournament in Philadelphia. Now, the first from his country to win America's Open since Tony Jacklin in 1970, Rose also has his first major.
Mickelson was agonizingly erratic. He sandwiched double-bogeys on three (a 256-yard par 3) and five (three-putting both) around a birdie at the fourth. After slipping behind, Mickelson holed a 75-yard wedge on the 303-yard 10th for an eagle. But Rose went back in front with birdies on 12 and 13, and Mickelson bogeyed 15.
Still one behind at the long 18th, Mickelson flew the green with his approach, missed the chip-in for the tying birdie and also missed the par putt to drop to two behind.
"Thirteen and 15," Mickelson said of two bogeys, "were the two bad shots of the day I'll look back on where I let it go.''
Thirteen is only 115 yards long. "I hit a pitching wedge,'' he said. "I needed a gap wedge.
"If I never get the Open, then every time I will think of the U.S. Open, I'll just think of heartbreak.''
For a very good, and sad, reason.