- Associated Press - Monday, June 18, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Michael Thompson settled for second place five years ago at The Olympic Club in the U.S. Amateur.

Sunday, he tied for second with Graeme McDowell at the U.S. Open _ only this time the consolation prize was worth $695,916.

“I knew from the beginning of the week, if I can just shoot right around 1 over every day I would be happy,” said Thompson, who held a three-stroke lead after the first round. “I didn’t expect at all to shoot under par. Then go out and shoot way under par on a U.S. Open is kind of unbelievable.”

Thompson said having played Olympic’s tight, twisting fairways under pressure back in 2007 made a huge difference.

“I think it helped me a ton,” he said. “I learned to love the course. I play a fade, or at least try to. That’s the shot I like. And this little golf course sets up perfect for a fade.”

Thompson finished a dozen groups before the final pairing then had to sweat out the ending. He finished at 2 over, a shot behind winner Webb Simpson.

“I’m so young in my career, I’m just going to take this as a positive experience and build on it and hopefully gain some momentum for the rest of the year,” said Thompson, 27. “I want to make it all the way through the FedEx Cup. That’s one of my goals. So I think this is a great steppingstone for me.”

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MASTERS-BOUND: Thompson’s top-eight finish also earned him a spot in the Masters next year.

Ditto for John Peterson, who tied for fourth in his first major. The 2011 NCAA individual champion from LSU isn’t on any tour right now, but he knows where he’ll be in April.

“I was pleased with the way I played,” Peterson said. “I just didn’t putt good again, but … that’s the best I’ve hit it all week.”

Peterson’s week will be memorable for plenty of reasons.

There was the hole-in-one on No. 13 Saturday, followed by his priceless reaction when he tried to chest-bump his caddie afterward.

Then there was playing well enough to earn some air-time on TV.

“My grandmother passed away a week ago yesterday,” he said of her unexpected death. “So I know my granddad’s at home watching me. So it was pretty cool on Father’s Day to play well for him and for my dad also.”

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