San Francisco, CA – Pinehurst, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Rickie Fowler got his first experience of what is like to be in the final group on the Sunday of a major, but it did not go exactly as he had planned.
Fowler entered the final round five shots behind Martin Kaymer and stayed in contention with a trio of opening pars before making a mess of the fourth.
Fowler managed to save double-bogey at the hole with a lengthy putt, but the damage had been done and he was never a factor for the remainder of the day as Kaymer rolled to the big win.
He would go on to record three birdies and three bogeys for the remainder of his round to finish in a share of second place with Erik Compton.
It was Fowler's fourth top-10 finish this season and second straight in a major after he shared fifth at the Masters, but he is still searching for his first win since the 2012 Wells Fargo Championship.
Although his round on Sunday was not what he had envisioned at the start of the day, Fowler can definitely use it as a learning experience for the future.
"I felt really comfortable, which is a good thing," Fowler said after his final round. "The more experience you can get in a final group in a major helps out."
If he continues this trend at majors, Fowler will definitely get another opportunity to play in the final group on a Sunday.
Maybe next time the result will come out more favorable.
DAY CONTINUES TO IMPRESS AT MAJORS
Jason Day is making a habit of finishing inside the top 10 at majors.
Day carded a 2-under 68 on Sunday to finish in a share of fourth place at 1- over-par 281.
In 15 career major starts, the Australian has now racked up seven top-10 finishes. Among that group is a trio of runner-ups at the 2011 Masters and U.S. Open, and 2013 U.S. Open.
The 26-year-old has already collected two wins on the PGA Tour, including the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship this season, and it is seemingly only a matter of time before he collects a major title.
Whenever that happens, it probably won't be his last.
COMPTON GETS CHANCE TO CONTINUE STORY
With his share of second place, Compton not only earned a chance to come back to the U.S. Open next season, but he also earned a spot in the 2015 Masters tournament.
The top four players and ties were guaranteed a spot at Augusta next year and the top 10 and ties received invitations to next year's U.S. Open at Chambers Bay.
The two-time heart transplant recipient apparently did not know that until he was told in a televised interview after he converted a clutch par putt at the 18th hole to close out a 2-over 72.
He would have still finished in third place and earned an invitation to his first career Masters had he bogeyed the final hole, but now he can still say he was a U.S. Open runner-up.
Also receiving an invitation to his first Masters was Brooks Koepka, although I'm not sure he will have quite the following Compton will receive when he rolls down Magnolia Lane for the first time.
* Kaymer is the seventh player to win the U.S. Open in wire-to-wire fashion. The other six were Walter Hagen (1914), James Barnes (1921), Ben Hogan (1953), Tony Jacklin (1970), Tiger Woods (2000, 2002) and Rory McIlroy (2011).
* Kaymer became the eighth international player to win the U.S. Open in the last 11 years.
* Kaymer, who also won the 2010 PGA Championship, joins Bernhard Langer as the only Germans to win two major championships. Langer won the Masters in 1985 and 1993.
* Justin Rose, the 2013 U.S. Open champion, shared 12th place at 3-over-par 72.
* Phil Mickelson finished in a tie for 28th place at 7-over. He is just this championship away from completing the career grand slam.
* Zach Johnson recorded a hole-in-one at the ninth hole. It was the 44th ace in U.S. Open history and the first of his PGA Tour career.
* The par-4 fourth was the most difficult hole on Sunday as players averaged 4.43 strokes. The hardest hole of the championship was the par-3 sixth, which played at 3.37 strokes.
* The par-5 10th played the easiest on Sunday with an average of 4.63 strokes. The par-5 fifth was the easiest of the championship with a stroke average of 4.80.