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U.S. Open playoff's pivotal holes

June 17, 2008|Mike James | Times Staff Writer

They played 19 holes to decide the U.S. Open on Monday, with either Tiger Woods or Rocco Mediate winning 14 of them. Only on five holes did the players tie each other. A look at those holes where either player gained ground:

* No. 1, 448 yards, par 4: Mediate catches the left front bunker and can't save par. Woods, who had started his round with a double-bogey on this hole three times during the tournament, makes a two-putt par to take a one-stroke lead. Woods up by one shot.

* No. 3, 188 yards, par 3: Woods finds the front bunker and bogeys. Mediate nearly makes a hole in one and drops the birdie putt for the only two-shot swing of the match. Mediate up by one.

* No. 5, 453 yards, par 4: Woods gets a routine par, Mediate goes from fairway bunker to cart path to cart path and bogeys. Match even.

* No. 6, 501 yards, par 4: Woods' eight-iron to about five feet leads to a birdie. Mediate's par from the back fringe isn't good enough. Woods leads by one.

* No. 7, 461 yards, par 4: Woods appears to be swinging pain free at this point, hits his second shot to 12 feet and birdies. Mediate's birdie putt is four inches short. Woods leads by two.

* No. 8, 171 yards, par 3: Neither player can hit the green with his tee shot, but Mediate gets up and down from in front and Woods can't from the bunker. Woods leads by one.

* No. 9, 612 yards, par 5: The first real glitch on the greens, Mediate three-putts for bogey, and Woods manages par even though he muffs a shot in the sand. Woods, who shows some pain in the knee on his tee shot for the first time, leads by two.

* No. 10, 414 yards, par 4: Mediate's short game fails him, with a poor chip and missed eight-foot par putt. Meanwhile, Woods salvages a par by sinking an 18-footer from off the green. Woods by three, biggest lead of the day.

* No. 11, 221 yards, par 3: Mediate two-putts for par from about 25 feet, and Woods, who had only 12 putts through the first 10 holes, can't get up and down from a bunker. Woods leads by two.

* No. 12, 505 yards, par 4: Woods finds sand off the tee, hits a poor bunker shot and bogeys. Mediate gets a two-putt par. Woods leads by one.

* No. 14, 269 yards, par 4: Both players use woods to try to reach the green and fall just short. But Mediate gets up and down, Woods doesn't. Match is even.

* No. 15, 478 yards, par 4: Extraordinary swings on this hole. Woods is in a bunker on the ninth hole, he's so far right. Mediate is on in two with a 35-foot birdie attempt. Woods somehow puts his second shot inside Mediate's, about eight feet. Mediate makes his curling 35-footer, Woods misses. Mediate leads by one.

* No. 18, 525 yards, par 5: Woods needed birdie Sunday to force a playoff. He needs birdie Monday to force sudden death, and gets it by hitting the green in two and two-putting. Mediate, who had driven into the sand, has to lay up and misses his birdie try from 16 feet. Match is even.

* No. 7, 461 yards, par 4: Sudden death: Woods makes a routine par after a huge drive, Mediate drives into a bunker, smacks his second shot up against the grandstand and is faced with an 18-foot putt to keep the match alive. He misses. Woods wins on first hole of sudden death.

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mike.james@latimes.com

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