Gary Woodland holds his nerve to win US Open

US Open 2019

Round 4

American Gary Woodland combined raw power and a sublime touch to see off the challenge of defending champion Brooks Koepka and claim his first major title in the 119th US Open.

Woodland carded a final round of 69 at Pebble Beach to finish 13 under par and three shots clear of Koepka, who had threatened to become just the second player to win three straight US Opens and claim an amazing fifth major victory in his last nine starts.

Justin Rose was tied for the lead after a birdie on the opening hole but faded on the back nine to share third with Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele and Chez Reavie, while the expected challenge from Rory McIlroy never materialised after a double bogey on the second.

Woodland had failed to convert any of his seven 54-hole leads on the PGA Tour into a win, but the 35-year-old from Kansas withstood the stubborn challenge of Rose and early charge from Koepka to land the title and first prize of 2.25 million US dollars.

After Koepka made a flying start with four birdies in his first five holes, Woodland responded with birdies on the second and third and twice enjoyed a three-shot lead before carding just his third bogey of the week on the ninth.

Koepka closed to within a shot of the lead for the first time with a birdie on the 11th, only to promptly bogey the next after finding sand off the tee.

Woodland was starting to feel the pressure and dropped his second shot in four holes on the 12th, but then struck what proved to be the vital blow with a stunning approach from 263 yards on the 14th which landed just over the greenside bunker and ran a few inches off the green.

Justin Rose watches his tee shot during the final round.

From there, the world number 25 chipped to three feet and tapped in for his first birdie since the third hole and he effectively sealed victory with a sublime pitch from the corner of the 17th green which span to a halt just two feet from the hole.

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.

Rory McIlroy’s wait for a fifth major continues as he failed to fire on Sunday, his round marred by two double bogeys at the 2nd and the 16th.

His topsy turvy round contained six birdies but also three bogeys for a 72. He did finish on a high, birdieing the 72nd hole to ensure he squeezed inside the top-10 once more, finishing tied-9th for the week.

Graeme McDowell, back at the scene of his greatest triumph, also birdied the last hole for a 72, finishing just outside the top-15 on three under par.

In a performance which had some parallels with his US PGA showing, Shane Lowry recovered from a poor opening round to squeeze inside the cut line, eventually carding three successive under par rounds.

Lowry birdied the final two holes of his final round for a 69, winding up at one under par and tied 28th.

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