|Pinehurst, N.C. Ė This being NASCAR country, the folks around here are used to seeing plenty of thrills and spills.
Thatís what the final round of the 2005 U.S. Open looked like: a race with pileups at every turn and enough dents to make an insurance adjuster go nuts. But in the end, one golfer navigated around the wreckage and through to the checkered flag. It just wasnít the player most expected to cross the finish line first.
Michael Campbell, of New Zealand, who had not survived the weekend in his last four U.S. Open appearances and owned no top-10s in a major since the 1995 British Open at St. Andrews, navigated his golf game beautifully through every treacherous nook and cranny of the 7,214-yard, par-70 Pinehurst No. 2 layout on Sunday. His brilliant 1-under 69 gave him a two-stroke victory over world No. 1 Tiger Woods, making him the first player from his country to secure the U.S. Open title.