Michael Campbell’s pitch to the 18th green on Sunday, June 19, 2005, was 77 yards from the pin – the exact same yardage Payne Stewart had for his third into the finishing hole in 1999.
“The bells are ringing,” NBC on-course analyst Dottie Pepper said of the nearby Village Chapel chimes. “It’s pretty eerie out here.”
“Yup, same spot Payne laid it up to,” Johnny Miller added. “Payne left it 15 feet under the hole, and made that putt.”
Campbell knocked his to 3 feet.
Two putts later – we failed to mention Campbell left his pitch above the hole – one of the more unlikely U.S. Open champions put the finishing touches on a remarkable performance. Michael Campbell, the 2005 U.S. Open Champion, held off a furious charge by pre-fire hydrant Tiger Woods at Pinehurst No. 2, making birdies at 10, 13 and finally, on 17, to clinch the national championship. He finished in even par 280, two strokes better than who Campbell calls the best player “we’ve ever seen.”
“The heart of the week was holding off Tiger,” Campbell told us of winning the Open. “I had the best player in the world chasing me down.”