Gary Woodland no longer has to answer questions about an inability to close or win a major championship. Entering Sunday’s final round of the 119th U.S. Open Championship at Pebble Beach Golf Links, the 35-year-old was 0-for-7 when holding a 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour, and he had never finished better than a tie for 23rd in eight previous U.S. Opens. That’s now all in the past.
Woodland holed a 30-foot birdie putt on Pebble Beach’s iconic par-5 closing hole to punctuate a three-stroke victory over two-time defending champion “Bobocop” Koepka, who was trying to become just the second player to win three consecutive U.S. Opens.
By carding a 2-under-par 69, Woodland became the fourth player to claim the U.S. Open title with four sub-70 rounds. He’s also the second Open winner at Pebble Beach to post a double-digit under-par score (13-under 271), joining Tiger Woods (12-under 272) who won the 2000 championship by a record 15 strokes.
“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.”
Four players – 2013 U.S. Open champion Justin Rose, Chez Reavie, Jon Rahm and Xander Schauffele – shared third at 7-under 277. Rose started the day one stroke behind Woodland, only to fade over the final 11 holes in carding a 74. Major champions Adam Scott and Louis Oosthuizen tied for seventh (278). For the record, Tiger Woods finished tied 21st at -2. What’s next? Royal Portrush for the Open Championship on mid-July, but he’ll only be listed among the outsiders. USGA/PPH