Stefani, who’s listed at 6-2, hopped around like a kangaroo, high-fiving his caddie, Chris Callas, his playing partner, Kyle Stanley, and anyone else around the tee box.
Scott Van Pelt was over there and I kind of walked over to him, I go, ‘That’s probably going to be a No. 1 on SportsCenter tonight, which would be kind of cool,’” said Stefani.
The 31-year-old Baytown, Tex., native who said that he shot only one other hole-in-one in his life, when he was 13 at Goose Creek Country Club where he grew up later kissed the rough around the 17th green, something he thought would get him in good with the tough City of Brotherly Love sports fans.
We’re in Philly. There’s some great fans up here and I know they can be tough on you and they can love you forever,” said Stefani. “So I’m sure they appreciated me going to the ground and kissing it.”
Stefani shot a 69 Sunday, but finished at 19-over par for the tournament. But he did have a forever memory to take from Merion, and said he planned to keep his souvenir ball.
The “Rocky” run up the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps before the Open began didn’t provide Rory McIlroy with some Hollywood magic in his golf game. McIlroy shot a 76 for his final Open round, capping four days of shooting 70 or higher.
The Irishman finished 14-over par and he hasn’t broken 70 in a U.S. Open round since he won the tournament in 2011 at Congressional with four straight rounds in the 60s.
“Everyone hits bad shots, but mine are just costing me too much at the minute,” said McIlroy, the No. 2 golfer in the world behind Tiger Woods. “I’m seeing plenty of good shots out there, and sometimes at the U.S. Open good shots don’t get rewarded like at other places. But that’s fine. I sound like a broken record, but I don’t feel like my game is that far away. That’s what I’ve been taking out of this week. It’s a matter of trying to let it all click into place.”
Since 2010, there has been at least one amateur to break the top 25 finishers of the U.S. Open. Sunday, University of California-Berkeley junior Michael Kim finished 10-over par, tied for 17th place with three others
That feels awesome,” Kim said after finishing the highest among the four amateurs who made the Open cut. “I had a difficult ending, but the overall week, it’s just an unbelievable experience.” Kim said he never got tired of peeking at his name on the leaderboard the last two days. “I could have stared at that leaderboard for hours on end and wouldn’t have stopped,” he said. “It was pretty cool.”
For viewers watching at home on Sunday, it was obvious that NBC was banking on Tiger Woods being in contention. In a bit of power-couple cross-promotion, the network aired a Lindsey Vonn-centric ad hyping the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics around 5:15 Sunday evening, just as Woods nemesis Phil Mickelson was in the midst of his round. But the timing of the spot was off. By the time the shots of the skier tearing up the slopes hit the screen, Vonn who’s still rehabbing from a devastating knee injury and Woods were both long gone.
HAVE A DAY
Jason Day is just 25 but he has already amassed an impressive record in the majors. In tying Phil Mickelson for second place, he chalked up his third runner-up finish in a major (2011 Masters and U.S. Open). He also was third behind fellow Aussie Adam Scott and Angel Cabrera at this year’s Masters and has six Top 10s in all.
“I think I’ve just got to keep putting myself in position to win,” he said. “And I feel that my game is in a really good spot right now.
“I’m doing the right things. I’m doing the little things that count. I’ve been close so many times now in majors, especially at a young age, which is nice. And you’ve got to understand that Scotty is in his young 30s and same with Rosie, I guess.
“I’m still 25. I turn 26 at the end of the year. I’ve got plenty of majors to play in and hopefully I can keep doing the same as I’m doing, and hopefully win one soon.”