How Retief Goosen won at Shinnecock Hills amid carnage in 2004 US Open
Last Updated: 11/06/18 7:49pm
The US Open returns to Shinnecock Hills for the fifth time in history but the last edition held there in 2004 is remembered for all the wrong reasons.
Retief Goosen was the victor as he claimed his second US Open, having also won in 2001, but the final round carnage at the New York tournament in which no player managed to finish under par for the first time since 1963 and the average final-day scored was 78.7 - more than eight shots over par - will live long in the memory.
Angel Cabrera, Jay Haas and Shigeki Maruyama all managed four under to lead at the end of day one, while Maruyama would follow that up with a two-under 68 to hold a joint lead with Phil Mickelson heading into the weekend.
Goosen had opened with a par round but his four-under 66 on the second day meant he was two behind the leaders. The South African then resisted the difficult conditions on the Saturday to shoot 69 and go five under overall, holding a two-shot lead over compatriot Ernie Els and Mickelson, who could only make 73.
Heading into the final day it appeared to be a two-horse race as Mickelson took the lead following three birdies between 13 and 16. Mickelson was playing in the group ahead of Goosen and had dropped to three shots after 12. He sunk a 20-footer for birdie at 13, managed a par on 14, where Goosen bogeyed and then played superbly to birdie 15 and 16.
But a double bogey on the 17th handed the initiative back to Goosen, who held his nerve and par in the final two holes to clinch the victory.
Els, who had been in contention, hit four double bogies on his way round as he carded a 10-over 80 on the final day.
''It was tough, actually quite painful out there, playing under pressure,'' said Goosen. ''The greens were just so brutally quick, even uphill putts were quick. I don't think there was one slow putt out there.''
Mickelson, who three-putted on the 17th, was scathing of the conditions. Of the first putt he said: ''I hit it very easy because I knew it was quick. It was downwind. And when the wind gets hold of it on these greens, it just takes it. It just wouldn't stop."
For Mickelson it was a third runner-up finish of six during his career at the US Open, and after being asked if the course set up was too harsh, he added: "I played some of the best golf of my life, and still couldn't shoot par. You tell me.''