Gary Woodland captures first career major at US Open

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy

After failing to produce a top-10 finish in his first 27 majors, he has contended at the last two PGA Championships - where playing alongside Brooks Koepka and Tiger Woods gave him valuable lessons in performing on the big stage.

Woodland finished the week without a single three-putt, an unbelievable feat at a U.S. Open.

Koepka has won four of the last nine major tournaments and was runner-up at the US Open last weekend, three shots behind victor Gary Woodland.

Woodland, who was tipped up before the off by Dave Tindall in the each-way column at 70/1, was generally a [110.0] chance before the off, but he was matched at as short as [1.8] when he went three clear after Rose bogeyed the eighth. "I just gave up a couple of cheap bogeys on the back nine".

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.

Woodland was superb after, eventually wining by three but there was one shaky moment right at the end.

With tension building with each shot, Woodland kept his cool and collected his first birdie of the back nine at the par five 14th to reclaim a two-stroke advantage and turn the U.S. Open into a two horse race.

Koepka closed with a 68 for his second runner-up in the majors this year, along with his second straight PGA Championship title. Then again, it could have been better.

The whole thing created a sense of community and university pride on the local sports scene that I've only seen or felt in Lawrence when the Jayhawks have been in the middle of a deep NCAA Tournament run or when Todd Reesing was playing quarterback.

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Tiger Woods after putting on the 8th green during the final round of the 2019 U.S. Open golf tournament at Pebble Beach Golf Links. "I had a little trouble with my focus and it shows up in these big events if that happens down the stretch". Shot tracker being wrong is far from a new phenomenon but it doesn't get any less frustrating. "Once that went in, it all came out of me". I started the week with a fairly big position on Dustin Johnson but I'd layed that back fairly sharply on Thursday and I backed out of an in-running bet on Xander Schauffele when he started his second round tardily. Things I couldn't do even previous year.

"I'm trying to execute everything to the best of my ability, and I've done that really well". It was too late by the time he gathered himself.

The early miscues appeared to fire up the 15-time major victor, and Woods responded with back-to-back birdies but the relief was only temporary as he gave back those two shots with bogeys at seven and 12. Woodland was too steady and Rose was too erratic. Getting to know the course is absolutely key.

"I know what it takes to win".

Also lurking four back are South African Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champion who carding a one-under 70, and Chez Reavie, who fired a 68 to move into contention. It was a quite remarkable performance from leftfield on and around the greens and one that nobody could have expected.

Woodland and his wife Gabby needed to draw on every ounce of positive energy in March 2017.

The USGA were well aware that this was a very important renewal when it came to player relations (something I wrote about last week) and there's no doubt that they erred on the side of caution. "I'm determined. I feel good about preparing for that one now. That 3-wood separated me a little bit". "I didn't let myself get ahead at all today".

"Sleep is not an issue, I'll be rested for tomorrow".

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