ARDMORE, Pa. -- Rookie pro Shawn Stefani made a hole-in-one Sunday on one of Merion's toughest holes, the 229-yard 17th, with his 4-iron shot bouncing off the banking to the left of the green and rolling about 50 feet into the cup. It was the first ace in any of Merion's five U.S. Opens but the 43rd in Open history.
"When the crowd went crazy,'' he said, "I knew it went in."
Stefani, 31, shot 1-under-par 69, 16 shots lower than his 85 Saturday, for a 72-hole score of 19-over 299.
Sergio falls in 2 holes
Two holes on Merion's back nine were the major problem for Sergio Garcia, who never has won a major.
On Thursday, he had a quadruple-bogey 8 on 15, and Saturday he carded a 10 on the same hole. Sunday, he had a triple-bogey 7 on 14. Garcia closed with a 4-over 74 for a 15-over 295.
"Four holes,'' Garcia said, adding his double-bogey 6 on the seventh Thursday. "I had 15 over on four holes. Take those away, and I played well.''
Only once since Ben Hogan in 1950-51 has anyone won consecutive Opens (Curtis Strange in 1989-90). Last year's champion, Webb Simpson, failed to shoot a par round and ended up at 13-over 293. "I did what I needed to do,'' Simpson said, "but I didn't make any putts.''
Scott not masterful
"The difference between shooting even par and 3 over on this course is a very fine line,'' Scott said. "I don't know if that's the mantra of the U.S. Open.''