The club of big winners has a new partner. Gary Woodland, 35, lifted the US Open trophy on Sunday after resisting with nerves of steel the attack of the one who was looking to be a legend, Brooks Koepka. The lord of the great, recent winner of the PGA Championship, chasing his third consecutive US Open and equaling a record of 114 years ago, since Scottish Willie Anderson achieved it between 1903 and 1905. Koepka bit and bit (-3 in the day, -10 in total), but Woodland, the quiet man of Pebble Beach, held on with a last round of -2 (-13 in the general) and celebrated with three shots of advantage his first big after three victories in the American circuit. Justin Rose (-7) went down in the last third of the round and there was a great Jon Rahm to share the third place, his best result in a big one. The Basque never stops growing, closer and closer to his dream of being the one to take the big prize.
- one. Gary Woodland (USA), 271 hits, -13.
- two. Brooks Koepka (USA), -10.
- 3. Xander Schauffele (USA), Jon Rahm, Chez Reavie (USA) and Justin Rose (Ing), -7.
- 7 Adam Scott (Aus) and Louis Oosthuizen (Sud), -6.
- twenty-one. Tiger Woods (USA), -2.
- 52. Sergio García, +4.
- 58. Adri Arnaus, +5
- 65. Rafael Cabrera Bello, +6.
The pressure was tremendous for Woodland, on the threshold of the biggest success of his career, for the first time defender of the leadership on a big Sunday. Even more so considering that he shared a game with Justin Rose, a player with tables, winner of the Us Open in 2013, Olympic gold, ex-number one of the world … And while they were both waiting to leave, Koepka had already gotten birdie in the pocket. The bombardier American started with everything. He masterfully saved the pair on the second hole after passing through the bunker and through the rough, signed another birdie in the three, and in the four, and in the five … Koepka was going for the story, and if he did not tie the duel in one breath it was for two putts failed in six and seven that could have changed everything. He breathed then Woodland, who did not seem very nervous anyway. Go temper yours to keep your feet on the ground. Of course, with his start, Woodland also hit the table: birdies in two and in three. After the first nine holes, he kept a treasure of two coupons.
A bogey of Woodland in the 12th he pressed the film to the maximum. Koepka was already without brake. The three-way game went hand-in-hand when Justin Rose made two errors in the 12th and 13th and left the way free. Rather than discounting blows, it was necessary not to fail. More was worth a pair in the hand than risk and give ground. Woodland was joined by the champion's luck with the ball pot before green in the 14, a pair five of which it left with two of advantage with four holes to be played. He had it in his hand, and his pulse was not going to tremble anymore. A approach luxury in par three of 17 served him triumph on a plate, and topped it big, with the birdie of 18 that sealed the glory and a check of 2.2 million dollars.
It was not a US Open as is usually a US Open. The little wind and the good conditions left 28 players under par of the field. Nothing to do with last year at Shinnecock Hills, when Koepka won with +1. For the first time in history in a US Open, two players managed in this edition cards of sixty punches the four days: Woodland with 68, 65, 69 and 69. Koepka, with 69, 69, 68 and 68.
To that titans fight did not come Jon Rahm by a hair. With a final return of -3, the Basque handed a -7 card that earned him the third place in the overall, his best result in a big overcoming the fourth step he occupied in the Masters and the 2010 PGA Championship It's your room top ten on a date of the Grand Slam (in addition, the ninth place of this course in Augusta). Rahm started engines with a birdie in the one thanks to a putt soft nine meters. If he had any chance of victory, that's where he started, but his starting ball on the second hole went to the bunker and there he cooked a bogey. The big man of Barrika threw the rest attacking, as he likes, and with birdies in four, five and seven returned to the charge in search of an impossible, cut a distance of seven strokes with the leader. Too much bite. There he also slowed down his progression and in the second round was on boards with a bogey at 15 and the birdie end of the 18th that left a great taste in his mouth. Rahm had not made it to this edition the cut in a US Open and in his first occasion he has lowered the pair the four days (69, 70, 70 and 68), he has added 18 birdies and he has risen to the podium. One more symptom of unstoppable growth. And the result of a small break that has made him recharge his batteries mentally after three years to the limit. "I was in reserve, I needed a break and live life as a 24-year-old man that I am," Rahm explained.
Much further we must look for Sergio García. El Niño is still not found by more than his first cut in a big after seven failed in a row. The first two days of the US Open let us see a better version of the Castellón, or at least some good flashes that made up the bad blows, but overcome the wall to play the weekend, the Castellón has not seen the light. With three up in the day, finished the tournament with +4 (+5 signed the debutant Adri Arnaus, and +6 Rafa Cabrera Bello, the first time four Spaniards passed the cut at the US Open), and again those Bad feelings in the game and in his words. "The week has been tough, it's been the easiest Open we've had here, but unfortunately we're playing badly and that's the way it is," admitted Sergio García. And something good to build on the following weeks? They asked him. "No, not really," settled. "If you do not like the answer, do not ask," he finished off the reporter. Garcia to the surface.
Tiger Woods does not understand surrenders. The Tiger has suffered too much to walk around complaining about a handful of bad blows. And there were many, at the beginning of this last day. A putt failed in the first hole with which he began to deny with his head, another, simple, in the next hole, plus two other skids in the fifth and sixth. Four bogeys in six holes they had left Tiger, but not sunk. At its worst, as only the champions do, and he is one of extra size, he resurfaced in style with two birdies in seven and eight. And in the second round, the winner of the past Masters, the golfer who has returned from the hell of injuries and personal problems once again appeared. If in the first six holes he loaded with four bogeys, in the last six he changed them to four birdies, the last in the 18 to take the applause recognition of Pebble Beach and close his card with 69 strokes, his best last round in the US Open since 2009, and the championship with -2. The big score continues in the 15 to those who arrived in Augusta. Jack Nicklaus is still breathing. But Tiger has taken time. If the physicist respects him, and he will do everything possible on his part, he will be playing for many more years. That are many opportunities. The hunting continues.
Final classification of the US Open.
His name is Viktor Hovland. Norwegian Amateur, 21 years old. And you can say that he did better than Tiger and many other figures in a big one. With a final round of 67 strokes, and always a smile on his face, Hovland finished the US Open with -4. The best amateur in this tournament, as it was already in the Masters of Augusta, and the amateur with the result (280 hits) lower in a US Open, surpassing a record of Nicklaus himself (his 282 hits of 1960). The best way to close your stage as an amateur. From this week he will compete as a professional, with his debut on the American circuit.
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