US Open runner-up Matthew Wolff accepted that the better man won at Winged Foot but vowed to learn from the experience of his near-miss at this year’s US Open.
The 21-year old held the 54-hole lead ahead of the final round but could only manage a five-over par 75 as Bryson DeChambeau carded the only under par round of the day – a 67 – to win by six shots at six-under par.
Asked what positives he could take out of his performance, Wolff identified plenty to ensure that the next time he finds himself in such a position, he’ll have the confidence to see it through.
“A bunch of positives. I mean, you can’t take Bryson out because obviously he won, but shooting even par for four rounds at Winged Foot is pretty exceptional. I think the last couple U.S. Opens that they’ve had here, I think 5 or so over has won,” Wolff said.
“I played really tough all week. I battled hard. Things just didn’t go my way. But first U.S. Open, second place is something to be proud of and hold your head up high for.
“I’m just excited to learn from this experience, and it’s definitely not the last time that I’m going to be in this spot.”
Ordinarily, putting up a five-over par round of 75 when you’re the 54-hole leader would be criticised more severely but this was no ordinary week. Not only is Winged Foot one of the fiercest courses out there but DeChambeau’s performance on Sunday was extraordinary and Wolff wasn’t alone in feeling the pinch because of Bryson’s relentless scoring.
He just wishes he could’ve applied slightly more pressure to the winner’s maiden Major pursuit:
“I really didn’t feel that nervous out there,” Wolff added. “Maybe at the start I did, but at the start I played pretty well. I don’t think it was nerves that were holding me back. I just think it wasn’t meant to be.
“It’s the U.S. Open. There’s a lot of breaks out there that probably could have — a foot or a couple inches more, and I have a different lie, or it stays up on a ridge or things like that, are three, four shots. If I’m that much closer to Bryson coming down the stretch, I’m sure he feels a little bit more pressure.
“He played really well. I was just told that there’s a lot of people in here saying what he’s doing is pretty exceptional. To watch it firsthand, I have to agree. I feel like I played really well, and that’s the difference out here between 4 over and 4 under is just those little tiny breaks that I didn’t get.”
“It’s the longest week of golf that I’ve ever played, and something that I’m going to know for the future, and next time I play, I’ll just know that it’s going to be a really long week and a marathon, and I just have to keep my head high.”