VOLUNTEER STRUCK: Luke Donald’s errant tee shot on the third hole struck a volunteer in the elbow. Sara Clark, a standard bearer, was hit in the left elbow and knocked to the ground near the bunker. She needed an ice pack at the medical tent before she was released. Clark did not return to the course. The USGA said most standard bearers range from 14 to 21 years old.
Donald appeared visibly shook. He made bogey, and then followed that with two bogeys and a double bogey. He shot 42 on the back nine.
“She was in some pain and felt a little bit faint, and I felt a little bit faint, too, watching it,” Donald said. “Unfortunately, you never like that to happen, and it was a very tough break for her.”
MATSUYAMA QUALIFIES: Hideki Matsuyama of Japan finished at 7-over 267 and tied for the best round of the tournament with a closing 67. He tied for 10th in his first U.S Open, making him an automatic qualifier for next year. He qualified this year in the Japan sectional.
“It was a great experience for me to be able to play a course that was so difficult and the setting was very difficult, too,” he said. “But to play well the final day has given me a lot of confidence and I’m looking forward to more experiences like this.”
Matsuyama was a two-time winner of the Asia-Pacific Amateur and twice made the cut at the Masters as a teenager. He was No. 1 in the world amateur ranking when he turned pro in April. He already has two wins on the Japan Golf Tour, one as an amateur.
NO DOUBT: Shawn Stefani aced the 17th hole. He’s the first player to make a hole-in-one at any of the five U.S. Opens at Merion. He used a 4-iron on the 229-yard hole. Stefani shot a 69 in the final round.
DIVOTS: Ernie Els cursed at a reporter to end his press conference. “I’m out of here,” he said. … Amateur Michael Kim faded hard Sunday with a 6-over 76 and was knocked off the final leaderboard. The 19-year-old Kim and his Merion caddie were fan favorites as they worked their way into contention. “I could have stared at that leaderboard for hours on end and wouldn’t have stopped. It was pretty cool,” he said.