US Open: Gary Woodland played like a champion, says Rob Lee
Last Updated: 17/06/19 7:08am
Rob Lee reflects on a career-changing win for Gary Woodland at the US Open and discusses a missed opportunity for Justin Rose at Pebble Beach.
The way Gary Woodland conducted himself and the way he played - super-steady and super-assured - was like a major champion. It was not by no means Woodland's to lose, because he did not have a massive lead going into the final day.
Woodland continued to play like he did in round three and looked in complete control of his game throughout, hitting a wide variety of shots along the way. He did have a couple of wobbles, but he knew what he had to do down the final holes and closed it out in special style.
He initially had Justin Rose breathing down his neck and then Brooks Koepka was among the best of the rest. Despite a 68 from Koepka, Woodland remained composed over the closing stretch of holes, and they are holes where you can make a mistake.
The drive and fairway-wood into 14 were incredible and then the chip with the lob wedge at 17 was another cornerstone in his win. The way he claimed his maiden major, at one of America's most iconic venues, on Father's Day, with his dad watching on, was very special.
When Koepka looks back at this week, he will realise he played some phenomenal golf once again, but just did not make his fair share of putts on Friday and Saturday.
He played some great golf again on Sunday when he was chasing, and Koepka is the only player to have fired five consecutive rounds in the 60s at the US Open.
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Koepka's amazing record continues, as he follows a runner-up finish at the Masters, and a fourth major victory at the PGA Championship, by finishing second at Pebble Beach. It feels like he is going to be around in the majors for a very long time.
Rose will be annoyed as he had a real opportunity there to add to his major tally and did not take it. I think 34 one-putts summed up his story before he teed off on Sunday, as there was no way he could sustain that over the final round.
He ended up running out of steam a little bit. Rose is not quite hitting it from tee-to-green like we know he can, but he was still able to contend in a major championship.