Brooks Koepka produced a back-nine birdie blitz to win the US Open here Sunday, becoming the seventh consecutive first-time victor of a major with a record-equalling four-shot victory at Erin Hills. Powerful winds buffeted the US Open today as the final round got under way with a cluster of inexperienced contenders aiming to break their major duck.
Unheralded American Brian Harman leads the field by one shot on 12 under, and will tee off in the final pairing alongside Justin Thomas at 2.54pm local time (1954 GMT/3.54am Malaysian time).
The 27-year-old Koepka grabbed control with three straight birdies on the back nine at Erin Hills.
Xander Schauffele, a rookie on the PGA Tour playing in his first U.S. Open, birdied his last hole for a 69 to tie for fifth at 10-under 268 along with Bill Haas (69) and Rickie Fowler (72), who was poised at yet another major to win only to fall back.
After turning in the best round ever at a U.S. Open, Justin Thomas was having one of the worst of the final round. And wise course management and cigarette-paper risk-reward differentials are still major factors: witness the forensic brilliance of Brian Harman, plotting his way round softly, quietly, cleverly, or Justin Thomas’s flawless 3-wood on 18 yesterday, which set up that record-breaking 63, no margin for error, on a risky, aggressive line. For the Madison native, the U.S. Open was a family affair. He had chances at the British Open and PGA that year, as well, but his play got overshadowed by others.
Harman admitted entering the final round there was extra motivation to prove to any doubters that he was worthy of a major win.
Brian Harman had the lead at 12 under coming into the day.
Today, the 18th, whether it be watching a birdie, bogey or more history being made, will serve as a tribute.
He rolled in an 18-foot birdie putt on No. 5 from the edge of the green that broke so severely that he stood with his toes facing the hole and rapped the ball toward his left foot.
After dropping a stroke on the par-four 12th, Spieth fired back with birdies on the 13th and 14th.
Hideki Matsuyama is making one last push at the U.S. Open.
But not long after he signed for his record score and an 11-under 205, he began to appreciate the significance of a 63 on this day. He putted for birdie to move to 2 under for the day and 2 over for the tournament.
Morgan shot 77 and, remarkably, still had the lead at 4-under 212.
Erin Hills, an 11-year-old course shaped out of Wisconsin pastureland, didn’t put up much of a fight without much wind. He got off to the ideal start with a two-putt birdie on the par-5 first and a tee shot just short of the green on the 338-yard second hold, leading to a simple up-and-down for another birdie. Kite says “I don’t anticipate this being a bloodletting”.
“I don’t believe in moral victories”, Harman said.
Players are on the course for the final round of the U.S. Open in blustery conditions at Erin Hills. He rolled a long birdie putt off the sixth green and made bogey, and he dropped two more shots with three-putt bogeys.
Of the 24 players on the course early, only two are under par for the day – William McGirt and Jordan Spieth.