Tuesday 23 July 2019

Gary Woodland is the 2019 US Open champion after holding off Brooks Koepka in style

PEBBLE BEACH, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 16: Gary Woodland of the United States celebrates on the 18th green after winning the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links on June 16, 2019 in Pebble Beach, California. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
PEBBLE BEACH, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 16: Gary Woodland of the United States celebrates on the 18th green after winning the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links on June 16, 2019 in Pebble Beach, California. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Phil Casey

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.

After Koepka made a flying start with four birdies in his first five holes, Woodland responded with birdies on the second and third and twice enjoyed a three-shot lead before carding just his third bogey of the week on the ninth.

Koepka closed to within a shot of the lead for the first time with a birdie on the 11th, only to promptly bogey the next after finding sand off the tee.

Woodland was starting to feel the pressure and dropped his second shot in four holes on the 12th, but then struck what proved to be the vital blow with a stunning approach from 263 yards on the 14th which landed just over the greenside bunker and ran a few inches off the green.

From there, the world number 25 chipped to three feet and tapped in for his first birdie since the third hole and he effectively sealed victory with a sublime pitch from the corner of the 17th green which span to a halt just two feet from the hole.

Woodland, who has worked hard on his short game with renowned Yorkshire coach Pete Cowen, then put the icing on the cake by holing from 30 feet for birdie on the 18th.

Online Editors

The Throw-In: D-Day looms in Castlebar, Jim Gavin’s plan for Diarmuid Connolly and the future of the Super 8s

In association with Bord Gáis Energy

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport