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Gary Woodland wins the U.S. Open, his first major title

APTOPIX US Open Golf
Gary Woodland celebrates after winning the U.S. Open Championship golf tournament Sunday, June 16, 2019, in Pebble Beach, Calif. AP

Gary Woodland has captured the U.S. Open, overcoming the back-nine pressure at Pebble Beach to hold off two-time defending champion Brooks Koepka for a three-shot victory.

Woodland seized control by going for the green on the par-5 14th hole with a 3-wood from 263 yards, narrowly clearing a cavernous bunker and setting up a simple up-and-down for a two-shot lead.

Even more significant was a shot from 90 feet.

Woodland hit the edge of the green on the par-3 17th all the way to the right, with the pin on the hourglass green on the other side.

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. Koepka chipped to just inside 10 feet and missed the putt.

Woodland delivered again. Unable to use putter to get it close, he perfectly clipped a pitch over the mound, and it checked about 12 feet short of the hole and trickled down to tap-in range.

That effectively ended the U.S. Open. Woodland played conservatively down the 18th and made one last birdie that only mattered in the record book. He finished at 13-under 271 — one shot better than Tiger Woods' historic rout in 2000.

The difference was Woods won by 15 shots and was the only player under par. With a marine layer blocking the sunshine, and no significant wind at Pebble Beach all week, 31 players finished under par.

Koepka failed in his quest to become the first player since Willie Anderson in 1905 to win three straight U.S. Opens. But this second-place finish adds to a runner-up at the Masters and his title at the PGA last month.

Xander Schauffele, Jon Rahm, Chez Reavie and Justin Rose finished in a four-way tie for third and 7 under.