A relative unknown despite being ranked 25th in the world, Gary Woodland now has a place in history as the 2019 U.S. Open champion.
Woodland started out Sunday’s final round one shot ahead of the field. He held off a furious charge by two-time defending champ Brooks Koepka, stayed sharp throughout the fourth round, and walked away from Pebble Beach with his first major victory.
One of the best shots of the championship came on the iconic par-5 14th hole. Woodland, from 263 yards away, ripped a 3-wood up the hill and landed just off the green.
Already with a one-shot lead at that point, he chipped close to the hole and poured in the birdie putt to move two shots ahead of Koepka.
From there, Woodland continued his rock-solid play until the par-3 17th, where he mishit his tee shot and had what appeared to be an impossible play from the fringe. Like he had done all day, however, he made the shot of the tournament to set up an easy par putt.
That’s all he would need, as Koepka lost momentum down the stretch and finished at 10-under par.
Woodland could’ve won with a bogey on the par-5 18th hole. Instead, he made an unbelievable birdie putt to win by three strokes.
Now with four career wins on the PGA Tour, Woodland has claimed his first major at the age of 35. Following his breakthrough U.S. Open win, the sports community reacted to his incredible achievement.