Thompson's near miss at U.S. Open not all bad

Thompson's near miss at U.S. Open not all bad

Published Jun. 17, 2012 11:53 p.m. ET

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Michael Thompson settled for second place five years ago at The Olympic Club in the U.S. Amateur.

On Sunday, he again tied for second, this time with Graeme McDowell at the U.S. Open -- only this time the consolation prize was worth $695,916.

"I knew from the beginning of the week, if I can just shoot right around 1 over every day, I would be happy," said Thompson, who held a three-stroke lead after the first round. "I didn't expect at all to shoot under par. Then (to) go out and shoot way under par on a U.S. Open is kind of unbelievable."

Thompson, a native of Tucson, Ariz., who played his college golf at Tulane and then transferred to Alabama, said having played Olympic's tight, twisting fairways under pressure back in 2007 made a huge difference.

"I think it helped me a ton," he said. "I learned to love the course. I play a fade, or at least try to. That's the shot I like. And this little golf course sets up perfect for a fade."

Thompson finished a dozen groups before the final pairing and then had to sweat out the ending. He finished at 2 over, a shot behind winner Webb Simpson.

"I'm so young in my career, I'm just going to take this as a positive experience and build on it and hopefully gain some momentum for the rest of the year," said the 27-year-old Thompson. "I want to make it all the way through the FedEx Cup. That's one of my goals. So I think this is a great steppingstone for me."

Thompson's top-eight finish also earned him a spot in the Masters next year.