Gary Woodland wins US Open as Rory McIlroy fails to ignite

American held off a charging Brooks Koepka on a tense final day at Pebble Beach

Rory McIlroy never got going after he was derailed by a double bogey at the second hole. Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy never got going after he was derailed by a double bogey at the second hole. Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

 

The finest tribute payable to Gary Woodland for this, his maiden major triumph, lies in the identity of the individual he held off.

As Brooks Koepka stalked to within one stroke of Woodland, through various stages of this US Open’s closing round, the outcome appeared a formality. Koepka, such a specialist in this major championship domain, was on the verge of history in seeking to become only the second man to win three US Opens in succession.

Not only did Woodland refuse to wilt; he took this title by three shots. It was impressive to see Koepka, denied his fifth major win in nine starts, amongst those waiting by the 72nd green to offer congratulations to the new champion. This was fully justified; the level of calmness as displayed by Woodland under intense pressure was quite terrific.

Every major winner has moments. Woodland had three. He diced with danger when aiming for the par five 14th green from 263 yards. Woodland’s three-wood approach seemed destined for trouble but instead bounced favourably from the top of a bunker protecting the front of the green. A crucial birdie followed. At the 17th, Woodland played a quite superb chip over a ridge to 2ft. On the last, the 35-year-old converted a birdie putt from 30ft. Short game, for so long a Woodland weakness, proved a Pebble Beach strength.

Woodland’s 69 meant a 13 under par aggregate; he thereby becomes the eighth first time major winner in the last 11 US Opens. Given personal heartache of his recent past, Woodland was understandably emotional before signing his card. “I never really thought the tournament was over so the emotion all came out when that final putt fell in,” Woodland said. “It’s so special to do it here at Pebble Beach. I played to win.” He didn’t half.

Woodland chips off the 17th green. Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo
Woodland chips off the 17th green. Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo

Before a final round ball was struck, Koepka may well have taken a 68 for 10 under par. When four under through his first five holes, the Floridian looked poised for the first straight US Open three-timer since Willie Anderson in 1905. Instead, Koepka covered his next 13 in plus one.

“I played great, nothing I could do,” Koepka said. “Gary played a great four days. That’s what you’ve got to do if you want to win a US Open and hats off to him. He deserves it, he’s worked hard and I’m happy for him.”

There was a theory Justin Rose’s level of scrambling, as kept him prominent after 54 holes, couldn’t continue. And so it proved; the Englishman’s 74 slid him back to seven under and a tie for third with Xander Schauffele, Jon Rahm and Chez Reavie.

“It doesn’t hurt,” Rose insisted. “You reflect and think ‘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. Like the way it happened for me today, I’m more proud of the fact I even gave myself a chance.”

Rory McIlroy’s tilt at glory looked destined for failure by the time he reached the 3rd tee. The Irishman double bogeyed the 2nd, a scenario which left him with far too much to do in his quest to win a second US Open. McIlroy’s 72 meant a tied ninth finish and tale of what might have been.

Rory McIlroy never got going after he was derailed by a double bogey at the second hole. Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images
Rory McIlroy never got going after he was derailed by a double bogey at the second hole. Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Adam Scott was amongst those to briefly play their way into contention. The Australian reached nine under par before carving his tee shot into the front garden of a Pebble Beach mansion from the 13th tee. Less relevant, but just as striking, was Scott’s 3ft putt for par on 16 that came to rest 7ft beyond the hole. Perhaps this was a lesson from the fashion gods towards Scott for the wearing of brown trousers that resembled the outfit of a landscape gardener. Scott dug his way to seventh, where he had Louis Oosthuizen for finishing company.

Viktor Hovland created history with the lowest US Open 72 hole aggregate by an amateur. The 21-year-old from Oslo signed off with a 67 for a total of 280, or four under par. Big things, quite understandably, will be expected of Hovland when he imminently turns professional. “I hope that I can feed off of this and be in contention for winning tournaments,” Hovland said after completing quite the double; he has won low amateur honours at the Masters and US Open within little over two months.

Tiger Woods waited until Sunday to deliver his best round of the week, a 69, with his total of two under meaning a tie for 21st. “I’m going to take a little bit of time off and enjoy some family time,” said Woods, whose next competitive stop is expected to be the Open Championship. Woodland will do likewise; with a trophy for added company.

Graeme McDowell began the day at four under and looking for a big final round to perhaps push up the leaderboard and rekindle some of the magic from 2010 when he won this championship at Pebble Beach but it never happened for the Portrush man. A bogey at the fifth and a double bogey at the ninth set him back before a late rally of four birdies in his last seven holes were only offset slightly by bogeys at the 16th and 17th to leave McDowell ay three under and in a tie for 16th.

Two shots further back was Shane Lowry who finished the week with a welcome round of 69 which included five birdies and three bogeys.

Collated scores from the 119th U.S. Open (Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, California) (Par 71, US unless stated, Irish in bold):

271 Gary Woodland 68 65 69 69

274 Brooks Koepka 69 69 68 68

277 Justin Rose (Eng) 65 70 68 74, Xander Schauffele 66 73 71 67, Jon Rahm (Spa) 69 70 70 68, Chez Reavie 68 70 68 71

278 Adam Scott (Aus) 70 69 71 68, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 66 70 70 72

279 Rory McIlroy (NIrl) 68 69 70 72, Chesson Hadley 68 70 70 71, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 68 71 70 70

280 Matt Wallace (Eng) 70 68 71 71, Viktor Hovland (a) (Nor) 69 73 71 67, Danny Willett (Eng) 71 71 67 71, Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng) 69 71 72 68

281 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 68 72 71 70, Graeme McDowell (NIrl) 69 70 70 72, Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 70 72 68 71, Matt Kuchar 69 69 70 73, Webb Simpson 74 68 73 66

282 Jason Day (Aus) 70 73 70 69, Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 69 73 70 70, Tiger Woods 70 72 71 69, Tyrrell Hatton (Eng) 70 74 69 69, Paul Casey (Eng) 70 72 73 67, Patrick Cantlay 73 71 68 70, Alex Prugh 75 69 70 68

283 Jim Furyk 73 67 72 71, Sepp Straka (Aut) 68 72 76 67, Shane Lowry (Irl) 75 69 70 69, Nate Lashley 67 74 70 72

284 Marcus Kinhult (Swe) 74 70 74 66, Billy Horschel 73 70 71 70, Patrick Reed 71 73 72 68

285 Dustin Johnson 71 69 71 74, Brandon Wu (a) 71 69 71 74, Jason Dufner 70 71 73 71, Marc Leishman (Aus) 69 74 70 72, Aaron Wise 66 71 79 69, Collin Morikawa 71 73 72 69, Bryson DeChambeau 69 74 73 69, Martin Kaymer (Ger) 69 75 71 70

286 Rory Sabbatini (Svk) 72 71 73 70, Andrew Putnam 73 71 73 69, Nick Taylor (Can) 74 70 70 72, Rickie Fowler 66 77 71 72, Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa) 71 73 72 70, Tom Hoge 71 73 71 71

287 Daniel Berger 73 70 74 70, Abraham Ancer (Mex) 74 68 69 76, Kevin Kisner 73 70 75 69

288 Haotong Li (Chn) 71 70 72 75, Phil Mickelson 72 69 75 72, Sergio Garcia (Spa) 69 70 75 74, Carlos Oritz (Mex) 70 70 75 73, Scott Piercy 67 72 72 77, Charles Howell III 72 70 74 72

289 Emiliano Grillo (Arg) 68 74 74 73, Adri Arnaus (Spa) 69 75 73 72, Andy Pope 72 71 75 71, Charlie Danielson 72 70 77 70, Zach Johnson 70 69 79 71, (a) Chandler Eaton 72 70 73 74, Harris English 71 69 76 73

290 Brian Stuard 71 73 74 72, Kyle Stanley 71 73 75 71, Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 71 73 73 73, Justin Walters (Rsa) 72 72 77 69, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa) 70 74 74 72, Jordan Spieth 72 69 73 76

291 Rhys Enoch (Wal) 78 66 71 76

292 Billy Hurley III 73 70 73 76, Cameron Smith (Aus) 71 72 77 72, Clement Sordet (Fra) 76 68 74 74, Luke Donald (Eng) 72 70 77 73

294 Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 71 73 78 72

295 Brandt Snedeker 75 69 74 77

297 Chip McDaniel 71 73 76 77

304 (a) Michael Thorbjornsen 71 73 84 76

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