Gary Woodland holds off defending champ Brooks Koepka to win U.S. Open at Pebble Beach

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Tiger Woods rebounded from a disastrous start and eventually carded his best score of the week Sunday in the final round of the U.S. Open. Golfweek, USA TODAY NETWORK

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Gary Woodland held off one pursuer after another – including major championship extraordinaire Brooks Koepka and 2013 U.S. Open champion and playing partner Justin Rose – to win the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links on Sunday.

In winning his first major championship, Woodland, 35, who previously was 0-for-7 when holding 54-hole leads on the PGA Tour, never fell out of first place on a cool, overcast Father’s Day and punctuated his victory with a 30-foot birdie on the 72nd hole.

Starting the day with a one-shot lead, Woodland was caught at the top when Rose birdied the first but then regained the lead by himself with birdies on the second and third holes. From there, he never relinquished the lead and held off the intimidating presence of Koepka to win by three shots.

Woodland shot 2-under-par 69 to finish at 13 under. 

His signature shot came on the uphill par-5 14th when he reached the green in two with his second shot from 249 yards, the ball hit with his 3-wood clearing by a cavernous bunker protecting the front of the green by just one yard. The shot led to a birdie and upped his lead to two shots.

There was another highlight that stood out, too. On the par-3 17th, Woodland’s tee shot wound up 90 feet from the hole on the hourglass green. He chipped off the fringe to a foot to save par and maintain his two-shot lead.

Then he canned the 30-footer on the last.

Koepka was trying to join Willie Anderson as the only players to win the U.S. Open three consecutive years. Koepka, the world No. 1 who has won four of the last eight majors he’s played, got within one shot on multiple occasions but couldn’t catch Woodland. Koepka is the only player in history to hold back-to-back titles in two majors simultaneously.

With a final-round 68, Koepka became the first player in U.S. Open history with five consecutive rounds in the 60s – he shot 69-69-68-68 this week and a 68 in last year’s final round at Shinnecock Hills. Koepka also became the first player to shoot four rounds in the 60s and not win the U.S. Open.

In his last four majors, Koepka won the PGA Championship twice and finished second in the Masters and U.S. Open.

More: Tiger Woods fights off another ‘crappy’ start, finishes on a high note at U.S. Open

More: 21-year-old Viktor Hovland sets U.S. Open amateur scoring record

More: This dad spends Father’s Day as his son’s caddie at Pebble Beach

Rose, who rode short-game magic to get within one shot of the lead through 54 holes, couldn’t overcome his erratic iron play and slipped into a tie for third with a 74. Joining him there were Xander Schauffele (67), Jon Rahm (68) and Chez Reavie (71).

Tiger Woods birdied six of his last 12 holes, but for the most part he was not sharp all week and turned in a dull effort to finish in a tie for 21st. 

It was Woodland’s fourth PGA Tour title and first since winning the Waste Management Phoenix Open in 2018

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