Tiger Woods set for early arrival in Portrush for Open Championship

Gary Woodland won the 119th US Open on Sunday, capturing his first major title with a 13-under par total to deny two-time defending champion Brook Koepka's bid for history at Pebble Beach.

Woodland tied the U.S. Open record at Pebble Beach with a score of 65 on Friday after Justin Rose broke the record the day before.

The 35-year-old American - who was calm throughout amid Koepka's surge - carded a two-under-par 69 to secure his maiden major.

Woods salvaged an otherwise disappointing weekend at Pebble Beach by birdieing six of his final 12 holes Sunday to finish the tournament at 2-under par, far behind the top contenders on a weekend made for low scores.

The Kansas native was a collegiate golf star and won four big tournaments on that circuit before, at his first crack, he qualified for the PGA Tour.

He arrived at Division II Washburn University in Kansas hoping to play in the National Basketball Association.

Woodland said he and swing coach Pete Cowen had worked on the shot earlier in the week. "But I wasn't able to get it done".

He missed the fairway on 13, 14 and 15 and saved par each time, but there was no piercing-perfect gap wedge, a la the 10th hole at the PGA at Bethpage two months ago, and there were no holding off Tiger Woods and all those cheers, a la the PGA at Bellerive previous year. "I was even thinking about laying it up a little bit, and he said let's go, let's go, let's hit three-wood".

"Yeah, I feel good".

Scenic Pebble Beach, where the U.S. Open champion was crowned for a sixth time on Sunday, may be one of golf's iconic venues but remains a public course available to anyone willing to shell out $550 for a round and wait in line for a tee time.

Woodland would help lead the Ichabods to their third straight conference title and a trip to Division II NCAA Tournament before leaving. And I was just trying to get it down there, trying to get it past the hole so I could be putting back uphill, and it came off perfectly. Like the way it happened for me today, it's like, yeah, I'm more proud of the fact I even gave myself a chance.

"I kept telling myself that records are meant to be broken", said Woodland.

"I wouldn't be where I am today without my dad and the way he treated me and the way he was hard on me", Woodland said.

Woodland punctuated the victory with a birdie bomb at 18, a final flourish in a display of back-nine fortitude that saw him convert a 54-hole lead for the first time in eight career attempts. "But I hit a lot of game-winning shots on the basketball court when I was a kid".

"The idea was to play to win", Woodland said of his three-wood second shot to set up a birdie at 14. I told him when I got done he needs to slow down a little bit.

As highlighted in the In-Play Blog yesterday, I layed Rory McIlroy to finish inside the top-ten at [1.3] and I backed Louis Oosthuizen against him in their two-ball at 21/20 and that provided a frustrating finish to a long night. "It will be great for me too, I've never been to Ireland". "And that's something that I look forward to doing with my son". I'm pleased how I'm playing.

  • Julie Sanders