Final-round scores

Oh, baby! Mickelson comes so close

Frozen moment: A putt to remember

Hole of the day: No. 16

Daly snaps at USGA over Pinehurst's conditions

Final-round scorecards

Notebook: Players surrender to Pinehurst

Harig: Woods thinks positive after close call

  Payne Stewart talks about his winning putt on 18.
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  Phil Mickelson gives credit to Payne Stewart's putting.
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Monday, Oct. 25
Clutch putts give Stewart his second Open

Associated Press

Editor's note: This is the way covered Payne Stewart's remarkable U.S. Open win in June. Stewart died in a plane crash on Monday.

PINEHURST, N.C. -- Gracious in a devastating defeat a year ago in the U.S. Open, Payne Stewart could not contain the raw emotion that overwhelmed him Sunday when his 15-foot par putt disappeared into the hole.

He thrust his fist in the air.

  Quote of the day: "Last year after the Open I kept hearing from people, 'What a great try. What a great effort you gave it. Well, I didn't want to hear that today. That motivated me like you can't believe." -- Payne Stewart on his victory after losing out in heart-breaking fashion last year.

Shot of the day: Although his 25-foot bomb of a putt to save par on 16 was huge, Stewart's 15-footer on 18 to win the championship will be the one shown on highlight reels for years to come.

Shock of the day: David Duval's collapse after getting two birdies in the first three holes. The world's top-rated player shot a second-straight 75 by bogeying five holes and double-bogeying one in the final 13.

Keep an eye on: The Ryder Cup standings. Stewart's win propelled him to third, virtually assuring his spot on the U.S. team in September. Mickelson jumped from 14th to eighth, giving him valuable points at a time when he may not be playing much due to fatherhood.

He turned to his caddie and screamed above the cheering throng around the 18th green at Pinehurst No. 2.

He cried.

"All I wanted to do was give myself a chance," Stewart said, choking back tears. "I never gave up. I got the job done."

Motivated by past failures, haunted by bizarre breaks that always seemed to go the other way, Stewart became the first player in the 99-year history of the U.S. Open to win on the 72nd hole with a substantial putt.

In a stunning conclusion to the most dramatic U.S. Open of the decade, Stewart closed with an even-par 70 in a steady drizzle to defeat Phil Mickelson by one stroke.

"When I looked up, it was about 2 feet away from the hole and breaking right into the center of the cup," he said. "I couldn't believe my eyes. I couldn't believe I had accomplished my dream."

Stewart, 42, was the only man standing below par at the end of four perilous trips around Pinehurst No. 2. He finished at 279.

Mickelson, the expectant father who was willing to drop the pursuit of his first major if his wife went into labor in Arizona, winced as his 25-foot birdie putt on the 18th stopped just inches short.

"I think it would have made for a cool story for my daughter to read about as she got older," Mickelson said. "But this is still something special."

After the victory, Stewart grabbed both sides of Mickelson's face and said to him, "Good luck with the baby. There's nothing like being a father."

All Mickelson wants is to be called, "Daddy." Stewart denied him the opportunity to be called a U.S. Open champion.

Tiger Woods made a remarkable charge until a bogey on the par-3 17th stopped him. Woods had a 70 and tied for third at 281 with PGA champion Vijay Singh, whose 69 was one of only two rounds under par Sunday.

It was the third straight year the U.S. Open champion won his second title of the decade. Stewart also won at Hazeltine in 1991 after an 18-hole playoff with Scott Simpson, which featured a two-shot swing on the 16th hole.

This one was even more breathtaking. All along the back nine as they worked their way through the fairways that Donald Ross carved through the Carolina pines 92 years ago, the anticipation built with every shot.

Mickelson looked as steady as Lee Janzen, who he defeated Stewart at Baltusrol in 1993 and Olympic Club last year. He looked as confident as Raymond Floyd, who surged past Stewart to win at Shinnecock Hills in 1986.

 Payne Stewart
Caddie Mike Hicks jumps into Payne Stewart's arms after the winning putt fell.

Stewart was scrambling by the seat of his plus-fours with a remarkable display of putting.

"I just wasn't going to hand it to him," he said.

Standing in the 16th fairway, Mickelson thought the Open was his to lose.

He failed to get up-and-down from the rough on No. 16, missing a 6-footer for his only bogey of the day that dropped him into a tie with Stewart. Then, Stewart hit a 6-iron to 4 feet on the 17th, and Mickelson changed his thinking.

"As soon as Payne hit that ball on 17, that was the first time I realized he could beat me," Mickelson said. "I realized that par might not be good enough."

It almost was when Stewart's drive caught a bad lie in the rough on the closing hole. He had no shot at the green from such a mangled lie and knew better than to bring trouble into play by trying.

He laid up and hit a lob wedge into 15 feet, the kind of distance that gave him what he wanted -- a chance to win the Open.

"The putts that Payne made on 16 and 18 showed what a great champion he is," Mickelson said.

Stewart thrust his fist in the air, turned to caddie Mike Hicks and shouted in disbelief, perhaps exorcising the demons of U.S. Opens past.

He has had at least a share of the lead 11 times after any of the first three rounds, more than any player in history. He finally reaped the rewards Sunday.

It was the first time since 1993 that a 54-hole leader hung on to win without a playoff. Stewart earned $625,000 for his 11th career victory. He now has three majors, having won the PGA Championship in 1989, and became only the 13th player to win two Opens.

David Duval, who started the final round only three strokes back, butchered the par 3s on the front once again and finished with his second 75 for the weekend. He tied for seventh, barely enough to keep his No. 1 ranking over Woods.

The only thing that kept Woods out of the playoff was his putter.

"I hit a lot of lips today," Woods said. "That's just the way it goes sometimes, but it all evens out in the end, because I made a lot of putts this entire week for par."

Woods had a chance to get within one stroke of the lead standing over a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 12. He grazed the lip, then missed the 2-footer coming back.

But he never backed down. Woods dropped to his knees when his 20-foot birdie putt curled into the cup on No. 14, then sent a roar that resounded across Pinehurst with a 12-foot birdie putt on 489-yard 16th, one of only three birdies Sunday on the longest par 4 in U.S. Open history.

One stroke back, two holes to play. Then, his chances were over.

Woods missed a 5-foot par putt on the 17th after hitting in the bunker. His only hope was a 25-foot birdie putt on the 18th, but it slid by on the right, and Woods leaned over on the putter as if falling on his sword.

"I'm glad he made that putt on 18 because I'll be sleeping a little bit better tonight," Woods said.

The U.S. Open felt more like the British Open when final round began. Temperatures were in the mid-60s -- about 20 degrees below normal -- as a steady drizzle fell from the quiet, overcast skies.

Slightly softer conditions yielded more than just an occasional par. Then again, disaster was always waiting around the severely sloped edges of the domed greens.

John Daly was so disgusted after his shot up the slope began rolling back to his feet for the second time that he whacked the ball with his putter as it was still moving -- a two-stroke penalty -- and finally walked off the eighth green with an 11.

"I don't consider the U.S. Open a major any more," Daly said.

He was never in the picture Sunday. But the real pain belonged to Duval.

Duval was only one stroke out of the lead after birdies on Nos. 2 and 3 and, just like The Masters, was poised for a dramatic Sunday move. Then, just like The Masters, his collapse came with shocking suddenness.

After missing two 5-foot par putts, Duval suffered another double bogey on a par 3 -- blasting from the sand over the green, watching helplessly as a chip rolled back to his feet. For the week, he was 7-over on the frontside par 3s.

"The (bunker) shot on No. 9 proves this isn't a game of 'deserves,' because I certainly didn't deserve that," Duval said. "But the game doesn't care."

Stewart could argue that he didn't deserve his fate in previous U.S. Opens. Even after blowing a four-stroke lead last year, he was determined to return to the top.

Olympic Club has reputation of being the "Graveyard of Champions." Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson also squandered chances there, and never won another major.

Stewart rose from the depths and reclaimed his stature as a champion.

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