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Cabrera tames Tiger at Oakmont

Cabrera might not have been the winner anyone expected, especially at Oakmont, which has produced U.S. Open champions of the highest caliber. But he earned his victory against the best.

He blew a chance to win the esteemed BMW Championship in Europe last month by topping a tee shot on the 15th hole and taking double bogey. As the pressure began to build on the back nine at Oakmont, he again showed signs of a struggle.

First came a three-putt bogey on the 16th from long range. Then he missed the 17th green with a wedge from the fairway to drop into a tie for the lead with Furyk.

"He just kept himself calm,'' caddie Eddie Gardino said. "He might go and win the British Open, because he knows he can do it.''

Cabrera's victory made it four straight years that an American has failed to win the U.S. Open, extending the longest drought since John McDermott was the first to win his national championship in 1911.

It was the third straight year no one broke par at the U.S. Open, the longest streak in 46 years.

That was no surprise at Oakmont, especially on Sunday. Under steamy sunshine, with final-round pressure on a course reputed to be the toughest in America, every mistake was magnified.

Aaron Baddeley might have made the biggest blunder, and it set the tone for his day. He was in the short cut of rough to the right of the first green when he chipped toward the flag instead of the middle of the green, and it zipped by the hole and off the green. He chipped weakly to 8 feet and ran his bogey putt about 4 feet past. Two putts later, he had a triple bogey. He wound up with an 80.

Six players had at least a share of the lead at some point, but not for long.

Stephen Ames opened with a 12-foot birdie and looked strong until he hooked a tee shot into the ditch on the seventh, tried to play out, finally chopped it to the right rough short of the green and walked off with a triple bogey.

Steve Stricker poured in birdie putts on the fifth and sixth holes to join the lead and closed out his front nine with two good pars for a 34. But he pulled his tee shot into a bunker on No. 10, had to play out sideways, then three-putted for double bogey.

Paul Casey was in such bad shape in a bunker on the par-3 sixth that he played backward, away from the green, chipped short of the green and took triple bogey on his way to a 43 on the front nine.

About the only players who didn't make any ugly errors - or many errors - were the players who ultimately contended for this title.

Cabrera traded birdies and bogeys along the front nine, most notably a birdie on the par-3 eighth hole that played 300 yards with the back tee and back pin. He looked as though he might pull away on the back, using his power for short birdies on the 11th and 15th.

Furyk finally stumbled with careless shots on the 11th and 12th, only to run off three straight birdies to get back in the game.

Woods, the best closer in golf, was a mystery.

He couldn't make a timely putt at the Masters. He couldn't find his swing at Oakmont.

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