Little-known Koepka Wins US Open Golf Championship

Evrard Martin
Juin 19, 2017

Koepka was also tied for fourth in the US Open in 2014 - albeit 10 shots behind runaway victor Martin Kaymer - and shot 71 at Erin Hills in the 2011 US Amateur, although he failed to reach the matchplay stages.

By the time the final groups reached the turn, the championship became a three-man shootout.

Like Koepka, Harman hadn't bogeyed a hole on the back nine until Sunday.

Meanwhile, it was a record-breaking week at Erin Hills.

Koepka's win means that the last seven majors have all been won by first-time winners.

The Globe's most recent sports headlines delivered to your inbox every morning. "And I'll win if I stay patient and just keep doing what I'm doing", Koepka said. And I got hot with the putter there for a little bit today and all week. I felt like that has been the thing lately with me, why I haven't really played that well - I've been trying to win so badly.

Matsuyama did his best to back-door his way into contention, shooting 6-under 66 to shoot up the leaderboard after starting the day six strokes off the lead. He called it one of his best shots of the week. China's Li Haotong dropped four shots in his opening four holes, with a double-bogey and two bogeys.

"You've got to put four good rounds together", Matsuyama said through an interpreter. Brooks had won only one tournament on the PGA Tour, here at Phoenix, until today. But rain-softened Erin Hills was a new U.S. Open course and a much different creature than most of the previous hosts.

Koepka parred the final two holes to tie the U.S. Open's 72-hole scoring record (in relation to par).

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.

Indeed, Erin Hills Golf Course proved to be very hard as the top three players in the world - Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day - all failed to make the cut.

Brooks Koepka may be known for mashing drives like American League MVP Mike Trout, but it was his shortest club that separated him from the field on Sunday's back nine. Tommy Fleetwood, Patrick Reed, and Si Woo Kim only managed even-par or worse.

"The rap it is getting for the low scores and everything, it is what it is", said Justin Thomas, who broke a tournament record with a 9-under 63 Saturday. "I think Brooks went out and won the tournament".

Eddie Pepperell (72-71-69-71) on Saturday: "I think the bunkers are maybe a little penalizing, and I think the course plays extremely well with the prevailing wind". When watching this 27-year-old canter to victory in the US Open on Sunday, it would have been wise to remember such life experiences. And then 4, my ball was three inches from the hole, and it completely stopped and rolled back four and a half feet.

Koepka's birdie run from 14-16 was the culmination of a dominant stretch on the back nine all week. It started with a 10-foot putt for birdie on 15, the toughest hole on the course on Sunday.

The soft, forgiving conditions created opportunity for major movement up the leaderboard for those players willing to take it.

"It was kind of bombs away". You could hit it far and the fairways were generous enough. I mean, they bomb it, if they hit it crooked they bomb it again.

Koepka earned $2.16 million, the largest single-day earnings in golf.

Traveling the world over during his foray into professional golf on the European Tour and its developmental circuit, the former Florida State All-American visited many lands, from Kenya to Kazakhstan, from Spain to Scotland, from South Africa to Shanghai.

"It's unbelievable. I don't know what to say right now but it's pretty cool", Koepka said.

QUOTEWORTHY: "I didn't get him a card, so I really hope this works", -Koepka on his plans for celebrating Father's Day with his dad, Bob.

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