US Open: Gary Woodland wins maiden major at Pebble Beach

Gary Woodland Us Open Champion

FINAL LEADERBOARD

-13 Gary Woodland; -10 Brooks Koepka; -7 Justin Rose, Xander Schauffele, Jon Rahm, Chez Reavie; -6 Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen; -5 Henrik Stenson, Chesson Hadley, Rory McIlroy

Prior to this week, Gary Woodland had held the 54-hole lead in a tournament seven times. Each occasion, he had come up short.

What a time to buck that trend.

The 35-year-old from Kansas held off back-to-back defending champion Brooks Koepka to win the 2019 US Open at Pebble Beach – his first major victory at the 31st time of asking and only his sixth win in 12 years as a professional.

Arriving in the Monterey Peninsula, Woodland had only two major top tens on his resumé and a best finish of T23 in the US Open.

• WITB - Check out Gary Woodland's US Open-winning clubs

None of that matters now.

Rounds of 68, 65, 69 and 69 combined to give him a 13-under-par total and a three-shot win over Koepka, with 2013 champion Justin Rose three shots further back in a four-way tie for third. 

He sealed the win in some style, too, draining a 30-foot birdie putt at the last. 

"It's hard to put into words," said Woodland afterwards. "I've worked hard my whole life. I've been surrounded by amazing people and I always just wanted to be successful. 

• Find out how much Gary Woodland won at Pebble Beach

"I didn't know what it was, what I was going to do. I fell in love with golf, and it's transcended to today. I never kind of let myself get ahead, just told myself it's never over, and when the last putt went in, it all came out."

There can be no disputing that Woodland is a richly deserving winner. His 72-hole total of 271 tied the second lowest score in US Open history. Across the week, he had not one three-putt and only four bogeys. 

Woodland Reacts To Win

Much of his success, he insists, is owed to his coach Pete Cowen. He started working with the Englishman on his short game 18 months ago and, when his swing coach Butch Harmon decided to retire from the tour at the start of this season, he went with Cowen for his whole game.

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"Pete to me is like a coach," said Woodland. "He's not really a teacher, he's a coach. He tells you this is the game plan, this is what we're going to do, and then it's up to me to go out and do it.

"But like Butch, he knows what to say and when to say it. He sent me an unbelievable text this morning that had nothing to do with my golf swing or technique. He said: 'Every man dies, but not every man lives, and you live for this moment'. I thought about that a lot today."

Justin Rose Us Open Final Round

Woodland's joy was in marked contrast to the disappointment felt by his playing partner Justin Rose

The Englishman had led the way after a record-equalling 65 in round one but struggled to reproduce that early form.

His three-over 74 was the worst score of any player in the top-30.

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However, he insisted that he would try to take only the positives from his week's work.

"Today doesn't hurt," said Rose. "You reflect and go, 'How can I get better?' There's no point in letting it hurt too much. It hurts if you lose at the death and you make a mistake. The way it happened for me today, it's like, yeah, I'm more proud of the fact I even gave myself a chance. I didn't have my 'A' game this week and to contend in a major with no game, really, I take the positives from that."

Runner-up Brooks Koepka said something similar.

Rory Mc Ilroy 2019 Us Open Final Round

Rory McIlroy's expected title tilt ended before it began, a double-bogey at the second hole effectively putting paid to his hopes. The Northern Irishman eventually signed for a one-over 72 to finish in tie for ninth. He reportedly declined to speak to the media afterwards.

• UH OH! Is Tiger Woods injured again?

Tiger Woods was four-over through six in his final round but played the remaining 12 holes in six-under to finish in a tie for 21st, whilst birthday boy Phil Mickelson could only manage a 72 to finish on four-over in a tie for 52nd. Now 49, you have to think his hopes of completing the career grand slam have now gone.

A player at the opposite end of his career is Viktor Hovland. The Norwegian signed off on his amateur career with a stunning 67, finishing in a tie for 12th and winning the low amateur spoils. He turns pro on Monday and big things surely await.

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