US Open day four: Woodland sees off Koepka to clinch first major title
Gary Woodland finish three shots ahead of the defending champion.
American Gary Woodland combined raw power and a sublime touch to see off the challenge of defending champion Brooks Koepka and claim his first major title in the 119th US Open.
Woodland carded a final round of 69 at Pebble Beach to finish 13 under par and three shots clear of Koepka, who had threatened to become just the second player to win three straight US Opens and claim an amazing fifth major victory in his last nine starts.
England’s Justin Rose was tied for the lead after a birdie on the opening hole but faded on the back nine to share third with Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele and Chez Reavie, while the expected challenge from Rory McIlroy never materialised after a double bogey on the second.
Woodland had failed to convert any of his seven 54-hole leads on the PGA Tour into a win, but the 35-year-old from Kansas withstood the stubborn challenge of Rose and early charge from Koepka to land the title and first prize of 2.25million US dollars.
Tweet of the day
Amy Bockerstette became Gary Woodland’s biggest fan after the video of her playing a hole with him during a practice round in Phoenix last year went viral and she was watching when he won on Sunday.
Quote of the day
Nice quote from @BKoepka earlier, paying tribute to US Open champion @GaryWoodland : "On 18 I realised I was that close to accomplishing something that has not been done in more than 100 years + that's special, but I don't think anybody in the world played as good as Gary did"— Phil Casey (@pcaseysafc) June 17, 2019
Brooks Koepka reflects on his attempt to become the first player since Willie Anderson (1903-05) to win a hat-trick of US Open titles, but pays fitting tribute to Woodland.
Statistic of the day
No player has ever shot in the 60s all four rounds at the U.S. Open and not won. Looks like Koepka will be the first.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGolf) June 17, 2019
Koepka missed out on becoming the second player to win three straight US Open titles, but still made history.
Shot of the day
It was a close call between Woodland’s approach to the par-five 14th or his pitch on the 17th green, but the man himself felt the former gave him the confidence to attempt the latter.
Round of the day
Who else but Woodland, who saw Koepka birdie four of the first five holes but responded with two early birdies himself and some clutch shots down the stretch.
The par-five sixth was the easiest hole all four days and gave up three eagles and 41 birdies on Sunday for a scoring average of 4.468.
For the third day in a row the ninth was the hardest hole, the back tee stretching it to 520 yards and resulting in just seven birdies being made against 19 bogeys and eight double bogeys for an average of 4.354.
On the up
Gary Woodland’s world ranking from 25th to a career-high of 12th after his three-shot victory.
On the slide
Rory McIlroy’s chances of ending his major drought after a hoped-for challenge in the final round never materialised following a double bogey on the second hole.