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10 Stats to Know: Round 4, 121st U.S. Open

June 20, 2021 SAN DIEGO, CALIF. By Justin Ray, Twenty First Group
Louis Oosthuizen made another valiant attempt at a second major title but came up just one stroke short. (Darren Carroll/USGA)

A rollercoaster Sunday ended in dramatic fashion as Jon Rahm claimed his first major championship victory in the 121st U.S. Open. Rahm’s win probability sat at just 10 percent after he made par on the 11th hole, but while other contenders collapsed all over Torrey Pines, he hit each of his last seven greens in regulation to seal the win. Here are the top 10 stats to know from the final round of the U.S. Open:

1. Rahm became the first U.S. Open winner to birdie the final two holes of the championship since Tom Watson in 1982. He’s the first player to birdie the last two holes to win any major championship by one stroke since Mark O’Meara did it at the Masters in 1998. Rahm is the fourth men’s major champion from Spain, joining Sergio Garcia, Jose Maria Olazabal and Seve Ballesteros. Yet incredibly, for all its rich golf history, this is the first time any player from Spain has won any USGA championship, let alone the U.S. Open.

2. Winners of the U.S. Open in recent years have fit a specific mold: this is the sixth year in a row that this championship was won by a player in the top 25 in the World Ranking – and more significantly – in the top 25 on Tour in driving distance that season. Rahm had a balanced approach, though, on his way to victory. He ranked in the top 20 in the field in all four of the primary strokes-gained metrics: off the tee, approach shots, around the green and putting. With his win, Rahm returned to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

3. With Rahm’s win, each of the last two men’s major champions are former Arizona State golfers (Phil Mickelson at the PGA). The University of Houston is the last school to be able to make that claim: the last time consecutive major winners in the men’s game hailed from the same university was when Steve Elkington won the 1995 PGA and Nick Faldo won the Masters the following year, although Faldo was only part of the Houston golf program for 10 weeks before turning pro.

4. Finishing one shot back was Louis Oosthuizen, his sixth career runner-up finish in a major championship. Oosthuizen is the only player in men’s major championship history with six runner-up finishes (or more) and either one or zero major victories. He is also now one of three active players with six or more runner-up finishes in majors, joining Phil Mickelson (11) and Tiger Woods (7). Despite all his worldwide success, Oosthuizen has still never won an event on U.S. soil.

5. Harris English was a forgotten man entering the day, sitting in a tie for 14th place through 54 holes. A Sunday 68, though, positioned him as the clubhouse leader for a good portion of the afternoon. Had English won, he would have been the first men’s major championship winner to come from outside the top 10 entering the final round since Paul Lawrie in the 1999 Open Championship at Carnoustie. No player had won the U.S. Open from outside the top 10 since Hale Irwin in 1990.

6. A chaotic final round had several players with an opportunity to get close to the lead. One of those players was Collin Morikawa, who ultimately finished T-4 in his seventh career major start. Morikawa was trying to become the first player to win a second major within his first seven career starts since Gene Sarazen in the 1922 PGA Championship. After Round 1, Collin was tied for 90th place. He would have had the worst Round 1 position by a major champion all-time.

7. Brooks Koepka made a Sunday surge, but finished four shots behind Rahm. Still, Koepka’s remarkable resume in the major championships continues to grow. Since 2016, Koepka is a combined 84 under par in the majors, 63 strokes better than any other player in that span (Dustin Johnson and Xander Schauffele are each 21 under in that stretch). Koepka has now finished fourth or better in four straight U.S. Open starts. He’s the first player to do that since Tom Weiskopf from 1976-1979.

8. While Xander Schauffele ultimately didn’t win his first major this week, the remarkable beginning to his U.S. Open career continues with his tie for seventh. In five career U.S. Open starts, he has finished in the top 10 each time. The last player to begin his U.S. Open career with five or more top-10 finishes was the great Bob Jones, who did it in his first seven starts from 1920 to 1926. Schauffele has now finished in the top 10 nine times in just 17 major starts.

9. After holding a share of the lead after each of the first three rounds, Russell Henley slipped down the leader board with a Sunday 76. Henley has some strong company, though, when it comes to leading for three days and not finishing the deal. The last two players to do it were Phil Mickelson in 2013 at Merion (finished T-2) and Dustin Johnson at Shinnecock five years later (finished third). Henley is the first player since Gil Morgan in 1992 to lead or co-lead after the first three rounds of the U.S. Open and finish outside the top 10.

10. The 2022 U.S. Open will be held at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., the first time that course has hosted the championship since 1988. Brookline is most famously known as the host course for Francis Ouimet’s 1913 U.S. Open upset victory over Ted Ray and Harry Vardon, subject of the book and film “The Greatest Game Ever Played.” Brookline more recently played host to Curtis Strange’s 18-hole playoff victory over Nick Faldo in the 1988 U.S. Open, Team USA’s comeback Ryder Cup win in 1999, and Matthew Fitzpatrick’s U.S. Amateur win in 2013.