SAN FRANCISCO — How will Sunday’s final round of the U.S. Open turn out? Who’ll be the winner at the Olympic Club? PGATOUR.COM staffers Mike McAllister and Helen Ross are on the scene and offer their predictions.
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McALLISTER PREDICTION: Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell were grouped together for the first 36 holes this week. They’re in the final twosome on Sunday. And they will play 18 more holes together on Monday before McDowell wins his second U.S. Open in three years.
I don’t expect either McDowell or Furyk to back up much, if at all, on Sunday. And I don’t see anybody within striking distance going low – low being a relative term this week — although Lee Westwood will be a constant threat and Jason Dufner will have his moments.
McDowell and Furyk will end Sunday the same way they started out, tied for the lead. McDowell then wins a hard-fought 18-hole playoff on Monday that will come down to the two par-5s in the closing stretch.
ROSS PREDICTION: I looked seriously at the three U.S. Open champions (McDowell, Furyk, Ernie Els) looming large at the top of the leaderboard. All three are plodders, which is the kind of game needed to prosper at The Olympic Club. Just as importantly, all have proven resilient this week, shaking off the bogeys and waiting for the birdie chances to appear.
That said, I really like the way Westwood is playing, fresh off his win last weekend at the Nordea Masters eight time zones away. He didn’t play his best in the first two rounds but didn’t let things get away from him like his playing partners Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy did.
After a 67 on Saturday, Westwood is once again in contention for what would be his first major championship. He has finished second or third in six of the last 10 majors and he’s shot par or better in his last eight final rounds. A win would be long overdue and well-deserved.