PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Gary Woodland denied Brooks Koepka’s bold bid at history and made U.S. Open memories of his own Sunday with two clutch shots, a birdie putt on the final hole and that silver trophy in his hands at Pebble Beach.
Yeah, he’s got this.
Koepka, trying to match a 114-year-old record with his third straight U.S. Open, kept the pressure on until the very end. Woodland was just as unflappable and got better with each big moment he faced, whether it was a 3-wood from 263 yards or a lob wedge from the putting surface that will take its place with other big moments on the 17th hole of Pebble Beach.
Needing three putts to win, Woodland finished in style with a 30-foot birdie putt for a 2-under 69, giving him the lowest 72-hole score in six U.S. Opens at Pebble Beach and a three-shot victory over Koepka. He raised both arms in the air to salute the crowd, turned toward the Pacific and slammed down his fist.
“I never let myself get ahead,” Woodland said. “Once that went in, it all came out of me. It’s special to finish it off here at Pebble Beach.”
Koepka had to settle for a footnote in history. He closed with a 68, making him the first player with all four rounds in the 60s at a U.S. Open without winning.
But he made Woodland earn every bit of his first major championship.
Koepka started four shots behind in his bid to join Willie Anderson as the only players to go back-to-back-to-back in the toughest test in golf. He made up ground quickly with four birdies in five holes.
“I felt like, ‘We’ve got a ball game now,’” Koepka said.
He failed to get up-and-down from a bunker for birdie on the par-5 sixth, then missed a 6-foot birdie putt on the par-3 seventh. Still, he stayed within range, just like he wanted, knowing that anything could happen on the back nine of a U.S. Open.
Henderson breaks Canadian victories record: GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Brooke Henderson won the Meijer LPGA Classic to break the Canadian record for tour victories with nine. The 21-year-old Henderson led wire to wire for her second victory in three years at Blythefield Country Club, closing with a 2-under 70 in chilly conditions to hold off Lexi Thompson, Nasa Hataoka, Su Oh and Brittany Altomare by a stroke. Henderson broke a tie with Sandra Post for the Canadian record on the LPGA Tour and also moved ahead of George Knudson and Mike Weir for the overall country mark.
Zhang wins in playoff: SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — China’s Xinjun Zhang birdied the third hole of a playoff with Dylan Wu in the Lincoln Land Championship for his second Web.com Tour victory of the season. Zhang closed with a 6-under 65 to match Wu at 15 under at Panther Creek. Wu finished with a 63 in his second career Web.com Tour start.