Justin Rose beats birthday boy Mickelson to win U.S. Open

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(Photo: MGN Online)

(CNN) — Justin Rose became the first English golfer in 43 years to win the U.S. Open on Sunday as Phil Mickelson failed to conjure up a 43rd birthday present for himself.

The American finished as runner-up at the tournament for the sixth time, while the 32-year-old Rose ended his long wait for a major title as he triumphed by two shots after a tense final round in Pennsylvania.

Mickelson needed to birdie the last hole to force a playoff — which no-one had managed during the final round — but he ended up dropping a shot and tying for second with Australia’s Jason Day.

World No. 3 Rose, who moved to Britain from South Africa as a five-year-old, launched himself onto the golf scene when he finished fourth at the 1998 British Open as the leading amateur.

However, he missed the cut in his first 21 tournaments as a professional and took time to find his way after losing his father and mentor Ken to cancer in 2002.

“You saw me look to the heavens, with it being Father’s Day — I was just trying to remember my dad,” Rose told reporters.

He became the second first-time major winner this season, following Australian Adam Scott’s victory at April’s Masters, as he made up a two-shot deficit on Mickelson going into the final round.

Mickelson made a terrible start, with two double-bogeys either side of a birdie within his opening five holes, and Rose had a share of the lead with Day at the halfway stage.

Mickelson regained the lead with a superb eagle at the par-four 10th, but Rose bounced back from a bogey with birdies at 12 and 13 before dropping back to level with his rival.

However, Mickelson paid for a poor shot at 15 as he dropped back to two over and Rose responded with pars at 17 and 18 — the latter chipping from off the green with a three-wood to give himself a tap-in for an even par round of 70.

That left Mickelson needing to produce the kind of putting heroics that Rose displayed against him in last year’s decisive singles match at the Ryder Cup at Medinah, but the left-hander will have to wait another year to win his national tournament — having also been bridesmaid in 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2009.

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