Gary Woodland captures first golf major with win at U.S. Open

Woodland holds off Brooks Koepka to win by three shots at Pebble Beach

Brayton Wilson
June 17, 2019 - 6:40 am

Photo: Rob Schumacher - USA TODAY Sports

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For the first time in his career, Gary Woodland has claimed a major golf championship.

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The 35-year-old took home the title at the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, California with a three-shot win over Brooks Koepka.

Woodland entered the final round of play at 11-under par and held a one-shot lead over England's Justin Rose. After Rose, it was a three-way tie for third place at 7-under par between Chez Reavie, Louis Oosthuizen, and Koepka, who was the two-time defending champion of this tournament.

After a birdie from Rose on the first hole and a par from Woodland, it was a two-way tie for the lead at 11-under par. However, that all changed on the second hole when Rose ended up bogeying the hole, and falling back to 10-under par. In the meantime, Woodland birdied the hole to go up to 12-under par, setting the course for the rest of the day for both golfers.

Meanwhile, Koepka started to make a charge to the top of the leaderboard as he birdied four of the first five holes for his final round to improve to 11-under par. From there, the 29-year-old started to struggle off the tee, but was able to stay close with Woodland for a majority of the final round.

Through the opening nine holes on Sunday, Woodland maintained the two-shot lead over Koepka, despite bogeying on the ninth hole to fall back to 12-under par. Rose was also close behind, tied with Koepka at 10-under par.

The 11th hole saw Koepka pull to within one shot after a birdie on the par-4 hole. However, the 12th hole saw Koepka bogeying the hole, and from there he went on to par-out the rest of the round. Despite shooting a brilliant four rounds of golf at the U.S. Open, Koepka became the first golfer in the tournament's history to have shot four rounds in the 60s and not win the title.

As for Rose, his round fell apart in the final nine holes as he too struggled off the tees, as well as in his mid-range game, and ended up bogeying three of the final nine holes to fall back to his final score of 7-under par. He ended up in a four-way tie for third place in the tournament along with Reavie, Xander Schauffele, and Jon Rahm.

Woodland continued to play a relatively safe game in his final nine holes, and was able to maintain his lead on the way to his first major golf championship. After a bogey on the 12th hole, Woodland rebounded with a birdie at the 14th hole, and ended his round with a 30-foot birdie on the final hole to put the icing on the cake.

The fourth and final golf major of the 2019 season comes at The Open championship starting on Thursday, July 18 at Royal Portrush Golf Club in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

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