Gary Woodland holds off Brooks Koepka to win US Open at Pebble Beach

Gary Woodland posses with the trophy after winning the 119th US Open at Pebble Beach on the California coast. Picture: AP
Gary Woodland posses with the trophy after winning the 119th US Open at Pebble Beach on the California coast. Picture: AP
Share this article
0
Have your say

Gary Woodland held off double defending champion Brooks Koepka to record his major breakthrough with a well-deserved victory in the 119th US Open at Pebble Beach.

The 35-year-old from Kansas holed a 30-foot birdie putt on the last to secure a three-stroke victory after having Koepka breathing down his neck throughout the final round.

Winner Woodland acknowledges the crowd after rolling in a long birdie putt on the 18th in the final round as he clinched his first major title in style. Picture: Getty Images

Winner Woodland acknowledges the crowd after rolling in a long birdie putt on the 18th in the final round as he clinched his first major title in style. Picture: Getty Images

Woodland, who finished on 13-under-par, closed with a two-under-par 69 on the California coast as he became the fourth player to claim the title with four sub-70 rounds.

He’s also the second US Open winner at Pebble Beach to post a double-digit under-par score, joining Tiger Woods (12-under 272 in 2000).

“I just kept telling myself that records are meant to be broken,” said Woodland. “I’m [actually] more nervous right now than I was playing today. I didn’t let myself get ahead at all today. Didn’t ever let myself think the tournament was over.”

Koepka, who was trying to become just the second player after Scot Willie Anderson to win three consecutive US Opens, turned up the heat as he burst out of the blocks with four birdies in the first five holes on the last day.

He was still lurking ominously after picking up another birdie at the 11th only to give that shot back straight away at the short 12th before finishing with six straight pars.

“I played great,” said Koepka, who became the first player to post four rounds in the 60s in the USGA major and not win.

“Nothing I could do. Gary played a great four days. That’s what you’ve got to do if you want to win a US Open, win a major championship and hats off to him.

“Cool way to go out on 18, to make that bomb. He deserves it, he’s worked hard and I’m happy for him.”

Four players – 2013 champion Justin Rose, Chez Reavie, Jon Rahm and Xander Schauffele – shared third spot on seven-under.

Rose started the day one stroke behind Woodland, only to fade over the final 11 holes in carding a 74. Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen tied for seventh (278).

Woodland’s breakthrough win was on the cards after his 265-yard, 3-wood second shot to the par-5 14th hole.

Holding a precarious one-stroke lead over Koepka, his ball barely cleared the front greenside bunker and stopped in the rough just left of the green.

His well-executed pitch stopped three-and-a-half feet from the flagstick, and he converted the birdie putt to extend his lead at a crucial time.

“We sat there and thought about it for a while and said let’s go, we’re out here to win,” said Woodland of his decision to go for the green. “Played aggressive, and it paid off.”

Many of his fellow PGA Tour professionals congratulated Woodland as he walked off No. 18 to the scoring area, including Koepka.

Rory McIlroy, the 2011 winner, finished joint-ninth on five-under, closing with a 72 after seeing his title hopes effectively killed off as he ran up a double-bogey 6 at the second.

Masters champion Woods ended up in a share of 21st on two-under after covering his final 12 holes in six-under for a closing 69 - his best round of the week.

Norwegian Viktor Hovland capped off his amateur career in style by earning low-amateur honors by five strokes over American Brandon Wu with a final-round 67.

That matched the lowest final-round score by an amateur (Deane Beman in 1962) while his four-under total of 280 was two strokes better than the amateur 72-hole record held by Jack Nicklaus (1960).

He’s also the eighth player to be the low amateur in the Masters and US Open in the same year, and the first since Matt Kuchar in 1998. Other notables to achieve that feat include Phil Mickelson (1991) and Nicklaus (1961).

For all the latest Scottish news, sport and features click here, or head to our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.