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SportGary Woodland comes up big on Father’s Day, wins U.S. Open at Pebble Beach

13:15  17 june  2019
13:15  17 june  2019 Source:   sfchronicle.com

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PEBBLE BEACH — Gary Woodland already had a special appreciation for Father ’ s Day . He and his wife, Gabby, were expecting twins in 2017, but they lost one So winning his first major championship on Father ’ s Day carried special meaning. The U . S . Open always ends on this day , leading to many

PEBBLE BEACH -- When Gary Woodland awoke Sunday morning holding the 54-hole lead at the 2019 U . S . Open , he did what any other father would when he' s away from his family on Father ' s Day : FaceTime with his wife and kid. Then, he received a message from his swing coach Pete Cowen.

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PEBBLE BEACH — Gary Woodland already had a special appreciation for Father’s Day. He and his wife, Gabby, were expecting twins in 2017, but they lost one of the babies during her pregnancy.

Their son, Jaxson — born 10 weeks premature — will turn 2 next week, and the Woodlands now are expecting twin girls in August. This prompted Gary to say Saturday night, “That will make life really real. I need to go out and make a lot more birdies and take care of a lot of stuff.”

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PEBBLE BEACH , Calif. — Gary Woodland , a college basketball player turned professional golfer, prevailed by three strokes in the 119th United States Open at Pebble Beach on Sunday. Woodland ’ s wife, Gabby, is expecting twin daughters in August, so Father ’ s Day had taken on a

Gary Woodland got some nice hardware and a hefty paycheck for his performance at Pebble Beach . Those are the names of the U . S . Open champions who have been crowned at Pebble Beach . short at Pebble Beach Gary Woodland achieves Father ' s Day dream with U . S . Open win

Woodland took care of one big thing Sunday, on Father’s Day — he won the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

Gary Woodland comes up big on Father’s Day, wins U.S. Open at Pebble Beach © Getty Images PEBBLE BEACH, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 16: Gary Woodland of the United States poses with the trophy after winning the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links on June 16, 2019 in Pebble Beach, California. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

His steady, final-round 69, on another cloudy day along the Monterey Peninsula coastline, held off Brooks Koepka’s spirited attempt for a third consecutive Open victory. Woodland finished at 13-under-par, to beat Koepka (68) by three strokes.

Woodland was a picture of stoic intensity most of the day, even as he strolled up the No. 18 fairway with his victory essentially in hand. He finally unleashed a ferocious fist pump when his 30-foot birdie putt tumbled into the hole, a stylish ending to an impressive week of golf.

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(AP) — Gary Woodland denied Brooks Koepka' s bold bid at history with two clutch shots and made U . S . Open memories of his own, starting with that He holed a 30-foot birdie putt for a 2-under 69, giving him the lowest 72-hole score in six U . S . Opens at Pebble Beach and a three-shot victory over

Moments later, Woodland warmly embraced his parents, Dan and Linda, behind the green. Gary Woodland later talked about his dad’s impact, the way Dan coached him in basketball, played catch with him and never let young Gary win.

“I wouldn’t be where I am without my dad,” Woodland said.

Gary Woodland comes up big on Father’s Day, wins U.S. Open at Pebble Beach
Gary Woodland comes up big on Father’s Day, wins U.S. Open at Pebble Beach
Gary Woodland comes up big on Father’s Day, wins U.S. Open at Pebble Beach
Gary Woodland comes up big on Father’s Day, wins U.S. Open at Pebble Beach
Gary Woodland comes up big on Father’s Day, wins U.S. Open at Pebble Beach
Gary Woodland comes up big on Father’s Day, wins U.S. Open at Pebble Beach
Gary Woodland comes up big on Father’s Day, wins U.S. Open at Pebble Beach
Gary Woodland comes up big on Father’s Day, wins U.S. Open at Pebble Beach
Gary Woodland comes up big on Father’s Day, wins U.S. Open at Pebble Beach
Gary Woodland comes up big on Father’s Day, wins U.S. Open at Pebble Beach
Gary Woodland comes up big on Father’s Day, wins U.S. Open at Pebble Beach

So winning his first major championship on Father’s Day carried special meaning. The U.S. Open always ends on this day, leading to many memorable images over the years — from Payne Stewart encouraging impending father Phil Mickelson in 1999, to Justin Rose pointing skyward to honour his late dad in 2013.

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Gary Woodland punctuated his 2019 U . S . Open win with a winning birdie putt at 18 that sent fans at Pebble Beach into a frenzy. The epic closing putt not only handed Woodland a three-shot win over Koepka, but it also moved his final score to 13 under.

Gary Woodland has always had the reputation of being a good golfer at the professional level but could never quite get over the hump from good to great. Gary won the first major of his career on Sunday at Pebble Beach Golf Links. What' s a better father ' s day gift than winning 2.25 million dollars.

In Woodland’s case, the poignancy rested in his odyssey to become a dad. His wife and son stayed home in Florida for the week, but he talked to them via FaceTime before Sunday’s career-changing trip around Pebble Beach.

“Obviously, we had our struggles, and it’s been documented the losses we’ve suffered,” he said. “We lost a couple last year, as well. And it was tough.

“My whole life it’s all been about trying to win, and now I’m trying to make a better life for my son than I’ve had. Today is so special from that standpoint, being a father. Hopefully, some day he can see this and realise anything is possible.”

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Gary Woodland comes up big on Father’s Day, wins U.S. Open at Pebble Beach

Woodland had won three times on the PGA Tour before Sunday but often struggled in majors, with only three top-10s in 30 starts. He’s a 35-year-old native of Topeka, Kan., known for his abundant athletic ability — he played one season of college basketball at Division II Washburn University — and his power off the tee.

But Woodland showed off an improved, impressive short game in joining Pebble’s distinguished list of Open champions (Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Tom Kite, Tiger Woods and Graeme McDowell).

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Woodland, who stands 6-foot-1, twice earned all-state honours at Shawnee Heights High School, leading his team to two state titles. He made 14 of 15 foul shots in one of the championship games, illustrating his poise under pressure.

Even so, his first game in college reshaped his athletic road map. Washburn played Kansas at storied Allen Fieldhouse, and Woodland found himself going against guard Kirk Hinrich, who would have a 13-year NBA career.

Gary Woodland comes up big on Father’s Day, wins U.S. Open at Pebble Beach © Reuters Gary Woodland of the U.S. lifts up his son Jaxson with Matt Kuchar (R) on the 9th hole during the 2019 Masters golf tournament's par 3 contest at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, U.S., April 10, 2019. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Woodland had figured golf was his fallback option if basketball didn’t pan out. That first game accelerated a change in plans.

“That decision got forced on me really quickly,” he said. “I was like, ‘I need to find something else, because this ain’t gonna work.’ It was a different level.”

After one year at Washburn, Woodland transferred to Kansas and focused exclusively on golf for the first time. That launched the long, winding road that took him to Pebble Beach, trying to protect a lead in the final round of America’s national championship.

Koepka, who started his round with four birdies in five holes, had trimmed Woodland’s lead to one precarious stroke. That’s when Woodland crushed his 3-wood shot on No. 14, barely clearing the front bunker to reach the par-5 in two. He made birdie to pad his lead.

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How Basketball and Baseball Helped Gary Woodland Master Golf PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Gary Woodland grew up a serial monogamist, in love, depending on the season, with basketball, baseball and golf. He bonded with his father on the golf course, aspired to be like the Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett and had shooting-guard dreams of glory until they were crushed in college by a future first-round pick of the Chicago Bulls, Kirk Hinrich. Woodland, 35, was tasked with guarding Hinrich in his first game for Division II Washburn University against Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse. It did not go well. He can remember thinking, “O.K., I need to find something else, because this ain’t going to work.

Gary Woodland comes up big on Father’s Day, wins U.S. Open at Pebble Beach © AP Gary Woodland celebrates after winning the U.S. Open Championship golf tournament with his father Dan, Sunday, June 16, 2019, in Pebble Beach, Calif. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

His other key shot came on No. 17, a hole steeped in U.S. Open lore. Woodland dropped his tee shot on the far right portion of the hourglass-shaped green, with the pin tucked on the opposite side.

Woodland chipped off the collar of the green, skillfully leaving the ball only 2½ feet from the hole. He converted the par, Koepka missed his birdie attempt at No. 18 and that was the ballgame.

Now he’s no longer the man who fizzles on golf’s biggest stages. Woodland is a major champion who stopped Koepka’s bid for an historic U.S. Open triumph.

“Gary played great for four days,” Koepka said. “He deserves it.”

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