Brooks Koepka has bagged his first major championship with a four-shot US Open victory at Erin Hills in Wisconsin on Sunday.
KEY STATISTIC: Though wind made Erin Hills play tougher Sunday than any of the three previous days (1.926 shots above par), 31 players still finished the tournament under par, a U.S. Open record.
But Koepka’s first of what could be multiple major championships was more than just force on the longest course in the history of the U.S. Open.
A huge par saver on the 13 was immediately followed by exemplary birdie putts on the 14, 15 and 16 to ultimately reach 16 under – the same final score as Rory McIlroy famously won with and shattered all US Open scoring records in 2011.
But about an hour after his final putt, as the size of his accomplishment sank in and everything it meant began to dig into Koepka, he conducted a remarkable long mass interview in which he opened up so much, was so frank and interesting, that the Man of No Emotion who won the U.S. Open was replaced by a vastly more interesting person – that is to say, the real Koepka.
It was just the third time a victor at the U.S. Open has been double-digits under par, and this week was the first time anyone other than the victor achieved the feat.
While more players than usual broke par at a U.S. Open, numerous world’s best golfers failed to make the halfway cut after Friday’s second round.
Fleetwood played his final 10 holes in 2 under to close out an even-par 72 and salvage solo fourth place, five shots behind his playing partner. “Hopefully they’ll want me to be a part of the Walker Cup, but you’ve got to play good”.
The miscues put Koepka alone back on top of the leaderboard, a perch from which he would not be removed.
Like Koepka, Harman hadn’t bogeyed a hole on the back nine until Sunday.
“I thought it was a fantastic round of golf, given what we were dealing with to start the day”, Spieth said. Despite facing a jumbled leaderboard with a multitude of contenders making birdies all around him, Koepka stayed true to his game and executed when it mattered most.
Koepka moved to 14-under with a birdie at the par-5 14th hole.
What he did looked awfully familiar Sunday at Erin Hills, minus any mess involving the rules. “There are so many (courses) to choose from, (but) I’m sure at some point, it will come back here”. “But I can’t complain the way I finished it”, Stricker said.
Koepka had always been thought of as a potential major champion and showed exactly why on Sunday with a near flawless performance, which saw him defy gusting winds early in his round and then capitalise on the return of calmer conditions on the back nine. Gary Player and I were the only guys predicting over forty years ago this would happen, and everybody laughed us to scorn. He found stardom right at home as the U.S. Open champion.
“I learned a lot this week”.
“I’m glad I made it here”. Without a card on any tour when he got out of FSU, Koepka filled his passport on the Challenge Tour with stamps from Kazakhstan and Kenya, Scotland and Spain, India and Madeira Island.
“I feel like I’m playing at the highest level”, Fowler said.
He birdied two of the next three holes following his bogeys on Nos. You’re here to play golf for 18 holes.
Justin Thomas lamented not giving himself a better chance of winning the U.S. Open after struggling to back up his blistering third round. – Fowler confident – Rickie Fowler was two behind Harman on 10 under after a four-under-par 68 which kept him firmly in contention.