OPEN MIKE; New Zealand's Campbell Chases Down Goosen, Fends off Tiger

By Smits, Garry | The Florida Times Union, June 20, 2005 | Go to article overview

OPEN MIKE; New Zealand's Campbell Chases Down Goosen, Fends off Tiger


Smits, Garry, The Florida Times Union


Byline: GARRY SMITS

PINEHURST, N.C. -- Michael Campbell was first a rising star, then an underachiever, then nearly unemployed.

He's taken care of the latter problem for the foreseeable future.

Campbell, a 36-year-old native of New Zealand, overtook defending U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen, then held off Tiger Woods, the world's top-ranked player, and captured the 105th Open Sunday at the Pinehurst No. 2 course.

Campbell birdied the par-3 17th hole on a 20-foot putt to take a three-shot lead over Woods and was able to play the final hole for a safe bogey to finish at even-par 280 and a final two-stroke margin over Woods. Both players shot 69, two of only four players to break the par of 70 in the final round.

Campbell's score was the highest for a U.S. Open winner since Lee Janzen also shot 280 at the Olympic Club in 1998. Campbell became the second native of New Zealand to win a major championship, 42 years after Bob Charles won the British Open.

"I was thinking about Bob," Campbell said. "And now, I've done it myself. It's incredible."

Sergio Garcia (70), Tim Clark (70) and Mark Hensby (74) tied for third at 5-over. After making three consecutive birdies on the front nine to come within three shots of the lead, Vijay Singh (72) of Ponte Vedra Beach tied for sixth at 6-over, along with Davis Love III (69) of St. Simons Island, Ga., and Rocco Mediate (71).

Brandishing the U.S. Open championship trophy, Campbell thanked his wife, Julie, who remained at their home in London, for helping through a career that had included more lows than highs. He also gave himself a pat on the back.

"I worked hard for this, I deserved this and I have it," he said, embracing the trophy. "It's all mine."

Campbell's victory capped a startling day of momentum shifts that began when 54-hole leader Goosen made a double-bogey on the second hole and quickly spun out of control on his way to an 81 and a tie for 11th.

Jason Gore, the smiling, engaging Nationwide Tour veteran who had to go through both stages of qualifying for the Open but found himself in the final Sunday pairing with Goosen, went into an even worse freefall. He shot 84, the worst single round among the players who qualified for the weekend.

Campbell took the lead through six holes with a combination of a birdie at the first hole and five pars in a row and Goosen's 4-over start through five holes. Woods, putting electricity into the galleries, jumped into the fray with four birdies in a eight-hole stretch. However, he never cut completely into Campbell's lead coming within one after birdies at Nos. 10 and 11.

Campbell had an answer: a 30-foot birdie putt at the par-4 10th. He never led by fewer than two shots the rest of the day.

Woods' last gasp was a birdie at the par-4 15th hole, but he missed 6-foot par-putt attempts at Nos. 16 and 17 to cut his rally short.

"I pulled the first putt and blocked the second putt," Woods said of his late bogeys. "So somewhere in between, I would have been great. I figured if I could get even-par, that might be a playoff. Those two bogeys put me out of the equation."

Campbell first came on the scene in 1995 at 26, when he had a two-shot lead through 54 holes in the British Open at St. Andrews. But he shot 76 in the final round, well back of the score he would have needed to join the playoff between John Daly and Costantino Rocca. …

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