Simpson's 7-iron shot landed in the rough and rolled 5 feet away for birdie. He birdied the next two holes, including a 15-footer on the par-3 eighth. And his wedge shot into the 10th settled 3 feet away, putting him in the mix for the rest of the day.
"It was a cool day," Simpson said. "I had a peace all day. I knew it was a tough golf course. I probably prayed more the last three holes than I ever did in my life."
Simpson's approach from the fairway rough on No. 18 went just right of the green and disappeared into a hole, a circle of dirt about the size of a sprinkler cap. With a clump of grass behind the ball, he had a bold stroke for such a nervy shot and it came out perfectly, rolling 3 feet by the hole for his much-needed par.
Then, it was time to wait.
It was the third time in the last seven years that no one broke par in the U.S. Open. On all three occasions, the winner was in the locker room when the tournament ended.
The best bit of drama from the winner came from a chair. He seemed somewhat calm but his blonde-haired wife, Dowd, had her eyes wide open, squeezing his arm and covering her mouth watching Furyk and McDowell play the last three holes.
After McDowell's putt to force an 18-hole playoff was off, they shared a hug and a kiss. Simpson whispered a few words in his wife's ear — "I don't think you'll be able to sleep now," he said — and stayed sitting for several seconds.
"When Graeme missed on 18 and I realized I had won, I just kind of shook my head in disbelief," Simpson said. "I couldn't believe it actually happened."
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