It was exciting, right up through Sunday's finish as three players, including the No. 1 and No. 4 ranked golfers in the world, battled for the lead all day until Woodland was finally able to capture the victory. He starred in a viral video with Amy Bockerstette, a 20-year-old with Down Syndrome, during the Phoenix Open.
"I hit a good putt, it just dove right across the front", said Koepka.
Ahead on the 18th, Koepka's 3-iron went just over the back of the green, leaving him a chip for eagle to tie, with a birdie likely to do the trick considering what Woodland faced. He delivered with a flawless shot to save par and keep his championship effort alive.
Then, he made it a three-shot edge when he knocked in a 30-foot birdie putt on 18.
With tension building with each shot, Woodland kept his cool and collected his first birdie of the back nine at the par five 14th to reclaim a two-stroke advantage and turn the U.S. Open into a two horse race. Woodland's incredible resolve down the stretch Sunday just proves how much it takes to win one major title, let alone four. "I didn't really think about it until I was done on 18 and realized how close I actually was to not making history, but tying it, I guess you could say". Runner-up at US Open a record six times and needing a victory here to complete the career grand slam, Mickelson will not get it done this year after signing for four-over 75 to leave him at three-over going into Sunday's final round. Koepka's dad, Bob Koepka, stood tall and clapped after Woodland sank the winning putt. The risky shot set up an easy birdie to give him some breathing room over the two-time defending champ.
Koepka had to settle for a footnote in history as the first player with all four rounds in the 60s at the U.S Open without winning. Woodland, unable to hit putter and get anywhere near the hole, opted to pitch it. He played those first seven holes in one-over and when one considers that when he finished the combined score of the players for that septet who had finished was 33-under, it is obvious where he fell short.
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"It doesn't sting. I played great", Koepka said. "I'm not going to be practicing with any sweaters at home, but it will be nice to get to Portrush and get with it again". Here's one last reminder as to why Gary Woodland is most definitely one of the good guys.
It was at that event that he failed to qualify for the Open Championship, an issue he will not have this year after securing his spot at Royal Portrush with a tied eighth place finish at the Canadian Open last week.
Rose couldn't stay out the bunkers.
England's 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 materialized after a double bogey on the second.
Woods hit back with six birdies, including one at the 18th, for a two-under round, his lowest final round at a U.S. Open in a decade but still 11 back of victor.