Topeka native Gary Woodland wins U.S. Open

June 17, 2019 - 6:49 am

(Pebble Beach, CA) Former University of Kansas golfer Gary Woodland captured the U.S. Open, overcoming the back-nine pressure at Pebble Beach to hold off two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka for a three-shot victory.

Woodland all but sealed his first major title when he chipped off a tight lie on the green on the 17th hole to tap-in range at a pin tucked in the back left. His par there preserved the two-shot lead.

Then, he made it a three-shot edge when he knocked in a 30-foot birdie putt on 18. It pushed him to 13-under 271 - beating by one shot the score Tiger Woods posted during his 15-shot victory at Pebble in the 2000 U.S. Open.

Woodland shot 2-under 69 to become the fifth player to break 70 in all four rounds of the U.S. Open.


With his family there to witness it all, @GaryWoodland is officially the 119th #USOpen Champ! #RockChalk

— Kansas Men's Golf (@KUMensGolf) June 17, 2019
The fourth was Koepka, who wrapped up his round of 68 a few minutes earlier. He's the first to accomplish that feat and not win.

After his historic win, Woodland, a Topeka native, told reporters about switching to golf after starting his college career playing basketball at Washburn University.

"The moment really got forced on me," Woodland said. "Our first game we played Kansas at the University of Kansas. They were ranked Number 1 in Division I and we were ranked Number 2 in Division II. I was guarding Kirk Hinrich and, like okay, I need to find something else, because this isn't going to work."

Koepka failed in his quest to become the first player since Willie Anderson in 1905 to win three straight U.S. Opens. But this second-place finish adds to a runner-up at the Masters and his title at the PGA last month.

Xander Schauffele, Jon Rahm, Chez Reavie and Justin Rose finished in a four-way tie for third and 7 under.

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