Gary Woodland was not exactly a household name on the PGA Tour, but now that he has won the U.S. Open, people surely will recognize it.

The average pro golf fan will say, “Wow,” when they learn some of the obscure facts about the 2019 U.S. Open champion. Discerning folks might say, “I knew that.”

Bill Kennedy, Golf Columnist

• Over his career on the PGA Tour, which began in 2009, Woodland has won $23,300,921. That’s a pretty good career income for a major champion who pretty much flew under the radar before taking the Open title June 16. It was his fourth PGA Tour victory, having won events previously in 2011, 2012 and 2018.

• This season, clearly Woodland’s best, has highlights other than the Open conquest. He has been runner-up in two tournaments, both last fall at the start of the current season. He has made the cut 17 times in 19 tournaments. And this season, his earnings are $5,556,461. Not too shabby for a 35-year-old who was a graduate of Kansas University in 2007.

• He is under contract with Wilson Staff, but check out what was in his bag June 16. The irons were Wilson Staff. Driver was a Ping. Three-wood: Ping 6410 LST. Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 53 and 57 degrees, and Taylor Made Milled Grind Hi-Toe 64 degrees. Club grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet. Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport prototype. Golf ball: Titleist Pro V1.

• Woodland’s ball mark is a 1984 half dollar given to him by his mother, because he was born that year.

• If you watched or listened to the “Dan Patrick Show” June 18, you realize what a great guy Woodland is, even after coming through the loss of a twin son at birth two years ago and having his father suffer a heart attack during his first PGA Tour appearance at Pebble Beach in 2009.

• As a 6-1, 195-pounder in Topeka, Kansas, he was an all-state basketball player, for a high school which won two state championships.

• Woodland and Special Olympics golfer Amy Bockerstette put together a very moving video during the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February. It was very well done, and clear evidence of the fact that Woodland is a special person.

Congratulations to Woodland for recording a 13-under 68-65-69-69—271, and for holding off a charge by Brooks Koepka, the 2017 and 2018 U.S. Open champion. They put on a brilliantly played show, and because the Open was played in California, they kept some older golfers up later than normal to watch this great action on television.

(Editor’s note: For regular readers of “Par for the Course,” who wondered about the “less than perfect” U.S. Open predictions of the June 16 column, these columns have a Thursday end of-the-day deadline each week, so that was written and filed before the first round was completed.)

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Rumors get started and word travels quickly, particularly in golf.

At the 25th annual Camp Sunshine Golf Tournament held at Point Sebago on June 10, each team in that event received a foursome certificate to play another golf course. One group won Val Halla but was told that Val Halla was closed because of winter damage to its greens.

Not true.

Val Halla is not and was not closed. Like many Maine courses, Val Halla’s greens were damaged and will need time to recover.

Now that the weather is getting warmer, and the rain supposedly is not happening as often, the greens and entire golf courses will undergo a more rapid healing process. A month from now, we are being told, there should be no evidence of what the winter did to golf courses in Vacationland.

Hopefully, that will be the case.

*****

Len Cole of Falmouth and Mark Plummer of Augusta successfully defended their Maine State Golf Association Senior Four-Ball championship June 18 at Biddeford-Saco by shooting a 9-under par 62.

David Kroll of Fox Ridge and Andy Bowden of Falmouth finished third with a 66, and they won low net with a 12-under 59. Tom Skelton and Paul Robinson of Martindale finished second in low net with 60.

*****

Fox Ridge is doing its annual thing for the Good Shepherd Food Bank. Bring a non-perishable food donation to the course, in return for which you will receive a certificate to play the course. That is valid Monday through Thursday, and afternoons Friday through Sunday and holidays until June 28. Further information is available at 777-4653.

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The annual parent-child championship of the Maine State Golf Association is Sunday at Natanis. A mid-week tournament will be June 25 at Sunday River with a Maine Amateur qualifier set for June 27 Waterville, and the Weekend event June 28 and 29 at Bridgton Highlands.

On the women’s side, the Metropolitan Championship will be June 24-25 at Fox Ridge

Bill Kennedy, a retired New Jersey golf writer and editor, now living on Thompson Lake in Otisfield, is in his seventh season as Sun Journal golf columnist.


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