Topeka welcomes home U.S. Open champ

TOPEKA. Kan. (WIBW) -- Hundreds crowded on Kansas Avenue Tuesday to celebrate hometown champion Gary Woodland.

It's not every day a city welcomes home a native champion, so the city threw a block party to honor Woodland's U.S. Open victory.

Topekans, Shawnee Heights grads and KU alumni roared as Woodland took the stage holding the trophy.

"For us to have a local kid do it,” Bernie Becker, a golf fan, said. “It just makes your heart go out and it makes you glad to be from here, to be from Topeka, to be from Kansas, to be from KU.”

For local fans of golf, Woodland's win showcased the city on the national stage.

"It puts Topeka on the map,” Steven Bryant, a golf fan, said. “Everybody was saying when they introduced him and they said, ‘Topeka, Kansas,’ that’s one power point right there, so it makes Topeka known."

Becker said kids can take something away from Woodland's win and also grow the sport in Topeka.

"To see someone with local ties do well at a national event, the youth they're sensitized to it,” Becker said. “’If he can do it, than I can do it.' and there's a lot of opportunities for golf in this community, so there's a whole lot of really good golf in Topeka and we love to see the young kids out there."