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Cranky 18th Hole

Posted June. 18, 2001 08:18,   


Both Retief Goosen (South Africa) and Mark Brooks (US) could not believe what they did in the 18th hole in the final round of the 101st U.S. Open (total prize of $5 million) at the Southern Hills CC (par 70, 6973 yard) in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Nobody was suspicious of Goosen`s victory, with only left 60cm par-putt left. Further, Stewart Cink (US) who competed in the `champion group`, already dropped out of the win with the double bogey.

But Goosen three-putted the vaunted 18th hole to set the table for the overtime session, and deploring sighs came from the gallery.

The same misfortune in the 18th hole had already happened to Brooks who finished the round 20 minutes ago. His par-putt stopped in right front of the hole.

Finally, because two players remained tied after 18 holes, a winner will be determined through 18-hole playoff between Goosen and Brooks who tied with 4-under-par 276 in total. The U.S. Open among the four major championships uniquely has the 18 hole playoff. If the players remain tied after 18 holes, a sudden death playoff will commence until a winner is determined.

Meanwhile, Tiger Woods (US) who had daringly said ``I can get over the 10 shot deficit``, failed to achieve the second consecutive win of the U.S. Open and the fifth consecutive win of the major, placed in the 12th with 3-over-par 283 in total.

The record proves how badly the diabolic 18th hole has tortured the players in this tournament. The 18th hole whose average score of four rounds had been 4.441, totaled 4.506 in the final round due to the more difficult hole location.

Only 4 players caught the birdie among 79 final round competitors. 31 players recorded the bogey including Goosen and Brooks who blew the `championship putting`, and 5 players recorded the double bogey including Cink who missed the playoff chance.

Ahn Young-Sik ysahn@donga.com