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US Open 2016

Emotional return for Angel Cabrera

Oakmont remains a special place for Argentina's Angel Cabrera, whose 2007 US Open victory here catapulted the one-time caddie from Cordoba to the pinnacle of golf.

Cabrera, whose nickname "El Pato" means The Duck, was a rather unprepossessing figure strolling the storied Oakmont course.

But his fluid, powerful swing made him the only player to produce two sub-par rounds that week, including a closing 69 that gave him a five-over total and a one-shot victory over Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk.

Cabrera became the first player from Argentina to win the US Open and the first Argentinian to win a major since Roberto DeVicenzo won the British Open in 1967.

"It's been very emotional this week with all the memories from back in '07," said Cabrera, who won the hearts of fans in staunchly blue-collar Pittsburgh.

"I've been waiting several years to actually be back here at this moment, to be back and play Oakmont again."

Cabrera says mighty Oakmont will pose much the same challenge this year.

"It's all about putting the ball in the fairway," he said. "Besides a couple of bunkers on the 18th hole, the course is pretty much the same, playing really tough.

"The most important shot is going to be the one off the tee certainly because, if you play from the fairway, it's going to make it a lot easier. If you don't hit fairways, it's very difficult to hit greens."

In his characteristically low-key way, Cabrera is up for the challenge.

He numbers the 2009 Masters among his three victories in the United States, and says the majors bring out his best.

"For some reason I just play better at majors than regular tournaments," he said. "There's something about the majors that gets a lot of focus from me, a lot of the best of me, and that's been basically the case for all of my golfing career."

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