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Continued: Justin Rose invokes Ben Hogan in US Open win, making return to historic Merion worth the wait

  • Article by: JOSEPH WHITE , AP Sports Writer
  • Last update: June 17, 2013 - 2:15 AM

It was.

The 4-iron approach rolled near the pin and settled precariously against the collar of the green, but he used a 3-wood to bunt the ball to an inch of the cup for par.

He then looked through the patchy clouds and point to the sky, a nod to his late father, Ken, who died of leukemia in September 2002.

"Father's Day was not lost on me today," Rose said. "You don't have (many) opportunities to really dedicate a win to someone you love, and today was about him."

England has waited since Tony Jacklin at Hazeltine in 1970 for a U.S. Open winner, although Rose adds to a run of recent dominance from the British Isles. Graeme McDowell (2010) and Rory McIlroy (2011), both from Northern Ireland, won back-to-back titles.

Rose first made his mark on the major scene as a 17-year-old amateur who chipped in on the final hole at Royal Birkdale in the 1998 British Open and tied for fourth. He turned pro the next week and missed the cut in his first 21 tournaments.

But he stuck to it and slowly picked off big tournaments — including the AT&T National in 2010 just down the road at Aronimink.

"Probably, at times, it feels 25 years since Birkdale, and other times it feels like it was just yesterday," Rose said. "There's a lot of water under the bridge. My learning curve has been steep from that point. Sort of announced myself on the golfing scene probably before I was ready to handle it. And golf can be a cruel game."

Certainly, it can.

On Sunday, it was cruel for Mickelson.

And for Steve Stricker, who is still without a win in the majors after hitting the ball out of bounds twice at the second hole to card an 8. He was one shot off the lead when the round began, but finished five back after his round of 76.

And it was cruel for Tiger Woods, who also hit out of bounds at No. 2 and closed with a 74. That gave him his worst 72-hole score (13-over 293) as a pro in the U.S. Open, and it tied for his high score in any major.

"I did a lot of things right," Woods said. "Unfortunately, I did a few things wrong, as well."

Still, Woods appreciates history, and he joined those who could see the Open coming back to Merion — logistics permitting.

"I'm sure it will come back," he said. "Obviously there are some vendors that are going to make more money with hospitality and that nature (at other venues). But I think that overall as a golf course, yes, it can be played."

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