SAN FRANCISCO - Jim Furyk was inconsolable after a poor finish cost him the chance of winning a second U.S. Open on Sunday, blaming himself for failing to hang on as Webb Simpson stormed home at a brutal Olympic Club course to claim a maiden the title.
The 42-year-old Furyk had led the tournament since the second round, outplaying Tiger Woods by five shots on Saturday after they went head to head, only to throw it all away when he bogeyed three of his last six holes.
"I don't know how to put that one into words," he told reporters.
"I had my opportunities and my chances and it was right there. It was my tournament to win... and I wasn't able to do so."
Furyk started the final day tied with Graeme McDowell but led by two shots when his playing partner stumbled over the front nine holes.
But as Simpson and McDowell started to pick up momentum on the back nine, Furyk's game began to unravel.
He did not make a single birdie all day and made bogeys at the 13th, 16th and 18th holes and could only manage par on the par-five 17th, statistically the easiest hole on the course.
Furyk closed with a four-over-par 74 to finish at three-over, two shots behind Simpson, and in a five-way tie for fourth.
"I really felt like I had a lot of confidence in myself and a lot of belief," Furyk said.
"When you feel like you're going to win the golf tournament and you don't, it's that much more disappointing."
Furyk won the U.S. Open in 2003 but is still searching for a second major title after some agonising near misses.
He tied for second at the U.S. Open in 2006 and 2007, and was equal fifth at the 2008 British Open, but is wary about the limited number of opportunities he might get with professional golf now more competitive than ever.
"Two years ago I was the Player of the Year in the United States. I played poorly last year, and all of a sudden I'm middle-aged," he said.
"I think I have a few more good years and I would like to get another opportunity. Whether or not that happens again in a major championship, I don't know." (Editing by John O'Brien)