Mark Townsend rounds up the best of the final day in his US Open report as Gary Woodland ran out a brilliant winner at Pebble Beach

US Open report: What happened on Sunday at Pebble Beach?

Gary Woodland produced the week of his life to capture the US Open from a charging Brooks Koepka at Pebble Beach. The 35-year-old had three previous wins on the PGA Tour but, in his seven previous 54-hole leads in regular PGA Tour events, he had never managed to win.

This time, as he was all week, he was sensationally solid, winning by three after rolling in a huge putt across Pebble Beach’s iconic 18th green.

Once upon a time Woodland was known as a big, bruising driver of the ball but it was a beautifully precise pitch across the 17th green that gave him a two-shot cushion going to the 72nd hole.

Coming into Pebble he was 169th on Tour for scrambling, this week he was top of the pile with 16/20 saves. Take a bow, Pete Cowen.

Final US Open leaderboard | What’s in Woodland’s bag?

Koepka, going for an outrageous three US Opens on the bounce, did what most of us expected and came flying out of the blocks with four birdies in the first five holes but it was the par at the 2nd which really stood out for its brilliance.

But his last birdie came at the 11th and, despite pressing to get on level terms, he couldn’t. In the end he will go down as the first player to shoot four rounds in the 60s and not win a US Open. Thanks to Woodland’s putt he also managed four sub-70 efforts.

Coming into this week Woodland had two major top 10s in his last three starts but he had never been right in the mix. So to start with birdies at 2 and 3 was something else and he didn’t let his guard down all day. When there was a big decision whether to try and take on the 14th green his caddie talked him into it and the fairway wood was a thing of as much beauty as raw power. That birdie gave him some much-needed breathing space coming down the stretch.

There were a couple of bogeys but otherwise it was all relatively stress free, fairways and greens, fairways and greens.

Justin Rose was part of the party for much of the day but his ability to keep churning out the past ran out over the back nine and he eventually fell back into a tie for 3rd with Jon Rahm, Chez Reavie and Xander Schauffele.

Rory McIlroy needed something extra special but his race was pretty much run when his hack out from beside a fairway bunker at the 2nd barely made any progress and, after going from sand to more sand, he took six.

Two holes later he very nearly pitched in to get those shots back and he also very nearly holed out at the short 7th but the magic of last week in Canada wasn’t quite there and he eventually would finish in a tie for 9th.

US Open report: Sunday talking points

Tiger Woods ended his 21st US Open with his best round of the week, a 69, to post a two-over total. And it was a spectacular effort given that he dropped four shots in his first six holes where he would have hoped to get off to a quick start.

“Again, I got off to another crappy start and was able to fight it off. It was just a matter of can I somehow get it back to even par for the day and the total. And that was our goal. Happened to get a couple more out of it which is great.

“Just because I got off to a bad start doesn’t mean it’s over. Keep grinding, keep playing.”

Woods was asked about his next start but he gave nothing away.

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On his 49th birthday Phil Mickelson wasn’t pulling any punches after signing off with a birdie for a 72 – though his 4-over total was a long way short of what he would have hoped for on a course where he has won five times.

When asked about his career Grand Slam chances – he has six 2nd places in the US Open – he admitted that this was an opportunity gone begging a bit.

“It’s not like I’m going to stop trying. I enjoy the challenge. But I thought this was a really good chance for me. I didn’t putt my best, I didn’t chip my best. I actually played OK tee to green. I hit a lot of good shots. And my short game was not what it usually is and hasn’t been this year. So I’m going to work on that a little bit.”

For your interest we’re at Winged Foot in a year’s time and we all know what happened there in 2006.

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Norwegian amateur Viktor Hovland, who won the US Amateur here last year, continued to make quite a stir in the pro game as he rounded up another brilliant week with a 67 to shoot the lowest 72-hole score by an amateur in US Open history.

He also becomes the first player to win low-amateur honours in both the Masters and US Open in a single year since Matt Kuchar in 1998. Having begun the week alongside Brooks Koepka and Francesco Molinari he ended it with a birdie on his final hole as an amateur. He will now make four straight starts on the PGA Tour.

“Coach has now caddied for me at the US Amateur last year, the Masters, and now this week. And I’ve had the three best years of my like at Oklahoma State and I’ve learned so much not only as a player but as a person, got to meet so many cool people and just kind of gotten to learn about the culture around it.”

US Open report: Best photo

A collector’s item at the 2nd – finished up with a one-putt par

US Open report: Best quote

“I’m just one of those psychos, I wish it’d been set up a little harder.”

– Matt Fitzpatrick on the set-up at Pebble Beach

US Open report: Best stats

US Open report: Best tweet

US Open report: Best (and worst) moments

 

 

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If you missed the best bits from Saturday, head to the next page…