Michael Allen may have finished tied for 56th overall at 14-over par on his home course in the U.S. Open, but he led the field in on-course handshakes and fist bumps.
Still an Olympic Club member after joining when he was a teenager, the 53-year-old San Mateo native didn't have the largest galleries of the weekend, but likely had the biggest following that knew him personally.
"The whole week has been a great time for me," Allen said. "A lot of love shown toward me with the fans and the media . . . For me, I'm just trying to have a fun day out here and let everybody know I appreciate all the support I've gotten."
The oldest competitor in the field, also with the most experience on the Lake Course (he has estimated he's played the course around 2,000 times), Allen had moments of greatness, but also got sucked into the pitfalls that similarly frustrated some of the best golfers in the world.
He birdied the short, par-4 seventh hole three times, had two eagles (on the par-4 14th in the first round and on the par-5 17th in the third), but also had 21 bogeys and a single double bogey.
"That's the way these hard golf tournaments are – these U.S. Opens and PGAs," said Allen, who was tied for 15th after a 1-over 71 in the first round, then went 10-over in the middle rounds before finishing with a 3-over 73 on Sunday. "They're always full of emotions, but for me, I don't get as caught up as I used to. It used to bug the hell out of me and wear me out. Now it's not going to change my life and I understand it more. I love doing what I'm doing [and] I love my experiences out here."
Wi's struggles mirror field
The opening stretch of holes at the Olympic Club have been talked about plenty throughout U.S. Open week, and no player exemplified the struggle to get through the first six holes like Charlie Wi.
Only 10 players in the field of 156 had more birdies than the South Korean native who played collegiate golf at Cal, but none came on the first six holes. Wi played the first six holes 14-over in the tournament and played the rest of the course 5-under.
"The holes are really difficult," Wi said. "On No. 4, you hit it into the middle of the fairway and it bounces into the rough. On No. 5, you hit it into the fairway and it bounces in the rough. Six is just a tough hole. I'm sure I'm not the only one who played them that bad – perhaps I was."
The 489-yard, par-4 sixth hole was the toughest of the tournament, yielding just 15 birdies, 214 pars, 194 bogeys, 30 double bogeys and three scores of triple bogey or more.
Wi finished tied for 29th in the tournament with a four-day score of 9-over.
Spieth claims top amateur honor after Hossler's slide
Seventeen-year-old amateur Beau Hossler stuck with the leaders for most of the tournament, but ultimately fell short of his original goal of finishing as the low amateur.
Hossler double bogeyed the 18th hole on Sunday to finish with a 6-over 76 and allowed 18-year-old Texas freshman Jordan Spieth to surpass him.
"[Of the] 72 holes, I probably played well [on] 60 of them," said Hossler, who just finished his junior year of high school in at Santa Margarita High School in Southern California and has also committed to play at Texas. "[I] made some crucial mistakes . . . but just like last year, it's only a learning experience and I still have some time before I come out and start doing this for a living."
Spieth shot an even-par 70 on Sunday and finished tied for 21st place at 7-over. On Saturday, Spieth shot a 1-under 69, the only round by an amateur that was under par.
"I hit more fairways," Spieth said of his improvements over the weekend. "I think knowing the course [helped too]. I had only played one practice round [before the tournament]. I had seen the course, but nothing like after five days of playing it."