PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Gary Woodland held off charges from former champions Justin Rose and Brooks Koepka and fired a final-round 69 to win the 119th U.S. Open. It is Woodland’s first major championship win and comes after he held both the 36-hole and 54-hole leads in the tournament.
Prior to Sunday’s win at Pebble Beach, Woodland (a three-time winner on the PGA Tour) was 0 for 7 attempting to convert 54-hole leads into wins. He also held the 36-hole lead at the PGA Championship in 2018 at Bellerive en route to Koepka’s win and played his final round with Tiger Woods as he thrilled the crowd with a 64 on Sunday. Those experiences helped Woodland grow more familiar with championship-level golf in pressure situations, and it no doubt helped him deliver when it was needed on Sunday at Pebble Beach.
Two shots down the stretch defined Woodland’s calm under pressure. The first came at the par-5 14th, as Woodland took aim at the pin from 265 yards out on his second shot to set up a birdie that would extend the lead.
The next came after a miss from the tee at the par-3 17th. Woodland had to chip the ball from just off the green to a tight spot on the other side of the hourglass green complex. He delivered with a perfect shot to save par and keep his championship effort alive.
Woodland is 35 years old but has been surging with some of his career’s best golf here in the last two seasons. Pebble Beach was friendly to those who had their accuracy in check and Woodland answered the challenge with 73 percent of fairways hit and 72 percent greens in regulation across 72 holes of championship golf conditions. This win changes Woodland’s life, and the recent form suggests that he’s capable of continuing this success in the near future.
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