US Open Golf : Punch Shot: Who will win the 119th U.S. Open? With 54 holes in the books, Gary Woodland leads the 119th U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, but he’s got plenty of big-name chasers with major prestige, including Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka, Louis Oosthuizen and Rory McIlroy.
So on the eve of the final round, we asked our writers on location who is going to win the year’s third major.
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Gary Woodland showed no signs of letting up on the weekend as he continued holding the lead carried it through Saturday at the 119th U.S. Open. Woodland is in the midst of playing the best major golf of his professional career, and after a couple top-10 finishes, it seems appropriate to see his name at the top of the leaderboard at Pebble Beach. However, the question remains: Will Woodland convert this opportunity to his first major win?
Kyle Porter and I have often discussed the idea of win opportunities — that you only get but so many chances to go and win a tournament on Sunday — on the First Cut Podcast, and that idea is particularly prevalent at major championships. There are only four majors in a year and only so many times that a golfer will find himself in striking distance heading into the final round of one of these championships. Woodland may be more than a decade into his professional career, but his major success has all been recent; holding the 54-hole lead against championship-caliber contenders will be as much of a test as trying to best Pebble Beach for a fourth straight day after three rounds under par.
Back-to-back defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is the most dangerous of that group, heading into the final round four strokes off the pace but feeling good about his game after three straight sub-70 rounds. Justin Rose, who played with Woodland on Saturday and will again Sunday, is one shot back. Fellow major champions Louis Oosthuizen and Rory McIlroy are also in striking distance, and Sunday’s biggest question will be which of these proven winners — or maybe another potential first-time winner — will make a run at the lead when things get tight across the final 18 holes of the championship.
Let’s check out the leaderboard as it stands heading into Sunday at the 2019 U.S. Open.
1. Gary Woodland (-11): All of the pressure in the world was on Woodland, but the leader was comfortable in that position. His two scores of bogey or worse are the fewest in the field across 54 holes and some of the par saves on Saturday were as impressive as the birdies. Woodland’s 54-hole score of 202 is the tied for the third-best in U.S. Open history, matching Martin Kaymer (2014) and trailing only Jim Furyk (2003) and Rory McIlroy (2011). Those three players all went on to win their respective events, and Woodland hopes to add his name to that list.