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Cabrera tames Tiger at Oakmont

Angel Cabrera
John Biever/SI
"Probably tomorrow, when I wake up with this trophy beside me, I will realize I won," Cabrera said.

OAKMONT, Pa. (AP) — The only thing Angel Cabrera couldn't conquer at this U.S. Open was Oakmont.

That was much tougher than Tiger Woods.

Cabrera hit all the right shots at the right time Sunday, none bigger than a booming tee shot down the middle of the 18th fairway that stopped a late slide, allowed him to post a 1-under 69 and forced Woods and Jim Furyk to catch him.

For the second straight major, Woods couldn't buy a birdie.

For the second straight U.S. Open, Furyk couldn't make a par.

Cabrera became the first Argentine in 40 years to win a major, powering his way to a pair of birdies on the back nine that turned into a one-shot victory over two of the best players in the world.

"It is very difficult to describe this moment,'' Cabrera said. "Probably tomorrow, when I wake up with this trophy beside me, I will realize I won the U.S. Open.''

He is not the player anyone expected to take down Woods.

But neither was Zach Johnson at the Masters.

OK, so Cabrera is not a normal guy from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He is a former caddie at Cordoba Golf Club in Argentina, who dropped out of elementary school to provide for his family and figured golf was his only hope to make a decent living. He fits the image of Pittsburgh tough, big and burly, walking down fairways while puffing on a cigarette.

"There are some players that have psychologists,'' Cabrera said. "I smoke.''

Cabrera wore a smile to hide his nerves as he sat in the clubhouse and watched Furyk fall out of a share of the lead on the 17th hole by trying to drive the green 306 yards away. The shot went into deep rough left of the green, his flop shot came up short and his 8-foot par putt swirled around the lip.

That left only Woods, who needed a birdie over his final three holes to force a playoff.

He did well to two-putt for par on the 244-yard 16th. His bunker shot on the 17th went over the green and made him again grind out a par, and a tee shot he thought was perfect on the 18th instead straddled the first cut and thick rough right of the fairway. Woods hit wedge that went 30 feet beyond the pin, and his birdie putt was too strong.

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