Webb Simpson clinches US Open

Webb Simpson flew in under the radar to snatch a one-shot victory at the US Open as a host of major champions faltered under pressure on the final day at the Olympic Club.

Simpson recovered from an uncertain start with four birdies in five holes around the turn, and a sublime up-and-down for par at the last capped a 68 which proved enough to pip Graeme McDowell and Michael Thompson to the title.

McDowell paid the price for missing a number of fairways as he limped to an erratic 73, while fellow overnight leader Furyk failed to mark down a single birdie in his disappointing 74.

Valiant challenges from the likes of Padraig Harrington, Ernie Els and David Toms came up short, while Lee Westwood and Tiger Woods failed to recover from costly mistakes over the fearsome first six holes.

Simpson, playing in only his fifth major, looked out of the running when he bogeyed two of the first five holes to slip to five over par.

But he responded with three straight birdies and added another at the 10th before closing with eight pars – saving his four at 18 with a four-foot putt after a delicate chip from thick rough.

Thompson, the first-round leader, had set the early target in the clubhouse at two over after an impressive four-birdie 67, while Toms and Harrington both fired 68s to finish one further adrift.

Harrington capped an outward 33 with a hat-trick of birdies, chipped in for another at 13 and converted from seven feet at 17 before dumping his approach to the last into a bunker.

The resulting bogey took him out of the equation while Els, who had earlier eagled the seventh only to bogey the next two, dropped shots at two of the last three to slump to four over.

That left McDowell and Furyk as the last threats to Simpson, the 2010 hero of Pebble Beach hitting back from an outward 38 with birdies at 12 and 13.

But the Ulsterman gave both back over the next two holes, and although he rolled in a 12-footer for birdie at 17, his 20-foot putt to force a play-off stayed left of the cup.

Furyk was forced into scrambling mode as he struggled with his long game but he still looked the man to beat after limiting the damage to two bogeys in the first 13 holes. But it all eventually caught up with him and a six at 16 took him out of the lead and he couldn’t recover, bogeying the last after pulling his approach into sand when he needed birdie to tie.

Westwood’s challenge floundered when he blocked his drive at the fifth, his ball lodging in the branches of a Cypress pine as he ran up a double-bogey six.

A tap-in eagle at 17 proved little consolation as he returned a 73 to finish four behind, while Woods dropped six shots over the first six holes before recovering to pick up three birdies in a 73 which left him at seven over.