The USGA finally got their chance for hard and fast on this last day at the 2016 U.S. Open. Greens were running 14.5 – 15.5 on the greens here and fairways have finally firmed up and are running fast and hard. The day started with Shane Lowry carrying a 4 shot lead into the final round at Oakmont over Dustin Johnson and Andrew Landry who had the first round lead in his first Open.
On the front 9 Lowry fell back to -4 with bogies on 2,5 and nine to make the turn to fall one shot behind Dustin Johnson who made birdies on 2 and nine to get the lead and -5. Scott Piercy made two birdies as well on the front 9 to move to 3 shots back of the leader heading into the back 9. Sergio Garcia also finished the front 9 just 3 shots back at 2 under par. Jim Furyk and Brendon Grace the only other two players under par are both 1 under, 4 shots off the lead. Once again on the front 9, Dustin Johnson is ripping drives at Oakmont well out ahead of the field, which is allowing him better positioning for shorter irons into these lightning fast green surfaces that have dried out in the final round.
The back nine at Oakmont has as much drama as any U.S. Open in history. Much of it brought on by the USGA themselves with their poor judgment and inability to determine the right rules both on the course and after tournaments. After Johnson removed his marker from the ball on the 5th hole Johnson took a few practice strokes and place his putter behind the ball but did not ground it. The ball then moved slightly, most likely because of the ridiculous green speed and wind. Dustin immediately notified rules official what had occurred. The Rules official incorrectly told Dustin to play the ball from where it had settled instead of replacing it. It was not until the 12th hole that a USGA Official approached Johnson and notified him they were reviewing the incident for a 1 to 2 shot penalty but it would not be determined until after he had finished his round. A call that infuriated golf fans worldwide and set off a huge social media reaction starting with PGA Tour Players at the event and then went viral criticizing the USGA and their handling of the situation.
Dustin Johnson after this took complete command of this years U.S. Open and totally focusing on his game and the task at hand. While Shane Lowery faltered with 7 bogies and only 1 birdie in the final round, Dustin carded 3 birdies and only two bogies all day, one assessed after his round by the penalty stoke on the 5th hole after the round. There were runs throughout the day by Scott Piercy, Sergio Garcia, Jim Furyk and others but in the end it was Johnson that won the championship by 4 shots prior to the penalty assessment. After the heartbreak at Chambers Bay last Year.