Notes Tigers Struggles Continue

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SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. -- Tiger Woods was never in contention for the U.S. Open title. In fact, he needed a final-hole birdie to avoid matching his worst round ever in the event.
 
Woods shot a 6-over 76 at Shinnecock Hills on Sunday and finished at 10-over 290 for the tournament.
 
'I feel all right, not really great,' Woods said. 'I hit a lot of good shots. I also hit some bad ones. And I put myself in some really tough spots to make birdies.'
 
Woods has won eight majors, including two U.S. Opens, but he's on an 0-for-8 run in the game's biggest tournaments.
 
'It would be awfully tough to try to deal with the fact I haven't won any majors the last couple of years if I wasn't in contention,' he said. 'I had a great chance at Hazeltine (2002 PGA), great chance at Royal St. George's (2003 British Open), and that's the one I felt like I should have won. I've had my chance going to the weekend, but as long as I'm still in contention then it's bearable.'
 
Woods shot a 69 on Friday that left him at 141, seven strokes off the lead. On Saturday, he capped a 73 with an eagle 2 on the 18th hole, a shot that he said left him with a chance to win the tournament.
 
He never had an opportunity with the tough conditions at Shinnecock.
 
'I hung in there, grinded my tail off today, I really did,' he said. 'I did the best I could, that's what I ended up with today. That golf course was out of control.'
 
Woods will play one more tournament before traveling to the British Open at Troon in July, his next chance to end his streak of defeats in majors. He will defend his title at the Western Open in Chicago over the July 4 weekend.
 
'I didn't play well there last time,' he said, referring to the British Open. 'I had a chance going into Sunday. I shot 64, I believe it was, on Saturday to put myself right back in the ballgame.'
 
LOW AMATEUR
Spencer Levin had a 5-over 75 Sunday for a 288 total that left him as low amateur in the field. More importantly, he finished tied for 13th, and the top 15 all receive an exemption into next year's U.S. Open.
 
'I made that little 4-footer on the last hole. That's probably what got me in it,' he said, referring to the par putt that did just what he said. 'That will be awesome. I look forward to that. I've never played Pinehurst, and playing with these guys again would be great.'
 
Levin, of Elk Grove, Calif., said he will return to the University of New Mexico in the fall and continue to compete in amateur events like the California State Amateur, which starts Monday at Pebble Beach.
 
'We had a flight to Oakland tonight, that was the original plan, but they have the awards ceremony here and I'm going to stick around for that,' he said. 'My tee time is 1:30 so I might be able to make it. You have to play Pebble if you get the chance.'
 
Especially after his four rounds at Shinnecock, which included the tournament's only hole-in-one, on Thursday at the 179-yard 17th.
 
'It was great. It was awesome,' he said. 'This was probably the most fun I've had playing golf.'
 
Three other amateurs made the cut. Casey Wittenberg finished at 296, while Bill Haas was at 297 and Chez Reavie was at 304.
 
FAMILY AFFAIR
Jay and Bill Haas became just the second father-son combination to make the cut at the U.S. Open, joining Joe Kirkwood and Joe Kirkwood Jr. in 1948.
 
Jay Haas had a 1-over 71 for a 287 that left him tied for ninth. Bill Haas, one of four amateurs to make the cut, closed with an 81 and was 10 strokes behind his father, tied for 40th.
 
'My Father's Day gift was the whole family being here this whole week,' Jay Haas said.
 
When asked about his son's effort for the week he said: 'He's young and hopefully not as good as he's going to be.'
 
WORTH A SHAKE
How impressive was Robert Allenby's par round of 70 on Sunday? It was good enough to draw praise usually reserved for numbers in the low 60s.
 
Allenby was talking to several members of the media when Spike McRoy, who had a final-round 81, walked behind him.
 
'What did you shoot today?' McRoy asked, already knowing the answer.
 
'Par,' Allenby said.
 
'That's unbelievable,' McRoy said, extending his hand for a congratulatory shake.
 
The average round at Shinnecock on Sunday was 78.72 and there were 28 rounds in the 80s.
 
When Allenby walked off the 18th green, his 6-over 286 had him tied for 17th place. When the remaining 19 groups were done, he was tied for seventh.
 
'It was pretty brutal out there. It wasn't easy,' he said. 'I hit some good shots but I had some luck.'
 
NEXT YEAR
The 2005 U.S. Open will be held in North Carolina at Pinehurst's famed No. 2 Course.
 
The only other time the Open was held there was in 1999 when the late Payne Stewart finished at 1-under 279, one stroke in front of Phil Mickelson. The course played 7,175 yards, the sixth longest in Open history.
 
BEST ON 7
The par-3 7th hole drew the most attention this week and finished with a stroke average of 3.413.
 
Tim Herron was the only player to finish under par for the four rounds on the hole.
 
He had three pars and a birdie.
 
Related links:
  • Leaderboard - U.S. Open
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