Key Points:

OAKMONT, Pennsylvania- Argentina's Angel Cabrera held his nerve to become the second South American to win a major title with a one-shot victory at the US Open on Monday (NZ time).

The 37-year-old from Cordoba, boosted by five birdies on a hot and humid day at treacherous Oakmont Country Club, fired a one-under-par 69 to post a five-over total of 285.

Three strokes clear with three holes to play, Cabrera survived bogeys on 16 and 17 before parring the last to emulate the achievement of compatriot Roberto de Vicenzo, winner of the 1967 British Open at Hoylake.

"I was just hoping they (his challengers) didn't make any birdies coming in," a smiling Cabrera told reporters after hoisting the trophy.

"After yesterday, I knew today I had to play in par or better to have a chance," the long-hitting Argentine added, referring to his 76 in Saturday's third round.

Twice champion Tiger Woods, hunting his 13th major title, had to settle for a share of second place with fellow American Jim Furyk (70) after closing with a 72.

The world number one, two strokes behind the pacesetting Aaron Baddeley of Australia overnight, stumbled early on with a double-bogey at the third.

Although he hit back with a birdie at the fourth, he was frequently forced to scramble to save par and failed to pick up any further shots before finishing at six over.

"Angel played a beautiful round of golf," Woods said. "He put the pressure on and Jim and I didn't get it done."

Swede Niclas Fasth birdied two of the last five holes for a 70 and fourth place at seven over, one better than Americans David Toms (72) and Bubba Watson (74).

With little margin for error on Oakmont's hard, fast and sloping greens, Cabrera and American Anthony Kim (67) were the only two players in the field of 63 to shoot under par for the day.

The scoreboard fluctuated wildly and at one point five players were tied for the lead.

Overnight leader Baddeley surrendered his lead by triple-bogeying the opening hole and fell back into a tie for 13th at 12 over after shooting an 80.

Woods appeared to be the likeliest winner midway through the final round after reaching the turn in one-over 36 but he dropped his third shot of the day at the 11th after hitting his approach into a greenside bunker.

When Cabrera hit a superb wedge approach to three feet at the par-four 15th to set up his fifth birdie and move three shots clear, the tournament appeared his for the taking.

However, the leaderboard seesawed for the next half-hour. Furyk reeled off three birdies in a row from the par-three 13th to climb into second place at five under, two behind Cabrera.

Moments later, Woods missed a slippery five-footer for birdie on the 13th green to stay at six under before Cabrera bogeyed the par-three 16th after failing to reach the green off the tee.

The Argentine, repeatedly puffing on a cigarette over the closing stretch, dropped another shot at the par-four 17th after missing the green to the left with his approach before holding on for victory.

US OPEN SCORES

285: Angel Cabrera (Argentina) 69 71 76 69

286: Jim Furyk 71 75 70 70, Tiger Woods 71 74 69 72

287: Niclas Fasth (Sweden) 71 71 75 70

289: David Toms 72 72 73 72, Bubba Watson 70 71 74 74

290: Nick Dougherty (England) 68 77 74 71, Scott Verplank 73 71 74 72, Jerry Kelly 74 71 73 72

291 Justin Rose (England) 71 71 73 76, Stephen Ames (Canada) 73 69 73 76, Paul Casey (England) 77 66 72 76

292: Lee Janzen 73 73 73 73, Hunter Mahan 73 74 72 73, Steve Stricker 75 73 68 76, Aaron Baddeley (Australia) 72 70 70 80

293: Carl Pettersson (Sweden) 72 72 75 74, Tim Clark (South Africa) 72 76 71 74, Jeff Brehaut 73 75 70 75

294: Anthony Kim 74 73 80 67, Mike Weir (Canada) 74 72 73 75, Vijay Singh (Fiji) 71 77 70 76

295: Ken Duke 74 75 73 73, Brandt Snedeker 71 73 77 74, Nick O'Hern (Australia) 76 74 71 74

296: Camilo Villegas (Colombia) 73 77 75 71, Boo Weekley 72 75 77 72, JJ Henry 71 78 75 72, Stuart Appleby (Australia) 74 72 71 79

297: Pablo Martin (Spain) 71 76 77 73, Peter Hanson (Sweden) 71 74 78 74, Fred Funk 71 78 74 74, DJ Brigman 74 74 74 75, Charl Schwartzel (South Africa) 75 73 73 76, Graeme McDowell (Northern Ireland) 73 72 75 77

298: Lee Westwood (England) 72 75 79 72, Shingo Katayama (Japan) 72 74 79 73, Mathew Goggin (Australia) 77 73 74 74, Jeev Milkha Singh (India) 75 75 73 75, Ian Poulter (England) 72 77 72 77, Tom Pernice 72 72 75 79

299: Kenneth Ferrie (England) 74 76 77 72, Geoff Ogilvy (Australia) 71 75 78 75, John Rollins 75 74 74 76

300: Marcus Fraser (Australia) 72 78 77 73, Olin Browne 71 75 80 74, Ben Curtis 71 77 78 74, Jose Maria Olazabal (Spain) 70 78 78 74, Zach Johnson 76 74 76 74, Chris DiMarco 76 73 73 78

301: Rory Sabbatini (South Africa) 73 77 78 73, Charles Howell 76 73 77 75, Dean Wilson 76 74 76 75, Ernie Els (South Africa) 73 76 74 78

302: Anders Hansen (Denmark) 71 79 79 73, Michael Putnam 73 74 72 83

303: Chad Campbell 73 72 77 81

304: Kevin Sutherland 74 76 79 75, Bob Estes 75 75 77 77, MICHAEL CAMPBELL (NZ) 73 77 75 79, Harrison Frazar 74 74 74 82

305: Jason Dufner 71 75 79 80

306: George McNeill 72 76 77 81.

- REUTERS