Wins despite flying under the radar at Shinnecock Hills
Koepka Wins Second Straight US Open The 30th BMW International Open
Brooks Koepka became the first player in three decades to repeat as US Open Champion, firing a gritty final round 68 at Shinnecock Hills to beat Tommy Fleetwood by one stroke. A year after he marched to victory with a 16-under total at Erin Hills, Koepka kept his nerve on the back nine to emerge with a one-over-par total of 281. After four grinding days at Shinnecock Hills, which first hosted a US Open in the 19th century, it was Koepka who topped the leaderboard with a one-over par total. Tiger Woods and Rory Mcilroy were long gone by then, missing the halfway cut.
Dustin Johnson, masterful in building a four-stroke lead through 36 holes, came back to the field during the brutal third round, when Mickelson underscored his irrelevance with a silly rules infraction. As Koepka emerged from a tightly bunched field on Sunday, Johnson simply couldn't keep pace. Even Tommy Fleetwood with a stunning
63 couldn't run Koepka down.
"I don't want to say I didn't think I could do it, but I knew that it was going to be that much more difficult," Koepka said of winning a second major. "To go back to back, I really can't even put it into words. We grinded our tail off this week to come back from seven-over and do what we did. It was pretty special."
The world number nine is the seventh
player to win back-to-back US Open crowns, and the first since Curtis Strange in 1988-89. After overpowering the wide-open Erin Hills, he kept his nerve through four brutal days at Shinnecock. "It's much more gratifying the second time," said Koepka, who had battled a partially torn wrist tendon that side-lined him nearly four months since his major breakthrough last year. "I don't think I could have dreamed of this."
A day after scores soared on the dried out greens, the US Golf Association admitted the course got out of hand, adding plenty of moisture and some slightly more forgiving pins. England's 12th-ranked Fleetwood seized the opportunity to match the lowest round ever in the US Open with a brilliant sevenunder 63 for a two-over total of 282.
Fleetwood had stormed into the clubhouse with a round that included eight birdies, putting the pressure on overnight leaders Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Daniel Berger and Tony Finau. Only Koepka met the challenge. He had broken out of the pack with three birdies in the first five holes. Playing in freshening wind and knowing that Fleetwood was in the clubhouse on
two-over Koepka produced a string of clutch putts on the back nine.
A six-foot birdie at the 10th gave him a two-stroke lead. A tough 12-footer limited the damage at 11 to what he called "a great bogey" after he hit over the green into deep rough and from there into a bunker.
He got up and down for par at the 12th and escaped with a par from deep rough at 14 before giving himself some breathing room with a birdie at the parfive 16th -- where he stuck his third shot less than four feet from the pin.
"I felt like I made those clutch eight- to 10-footers that you need to keep the
momentum going," Koepka said. "We didn't drive it that great, but you can make up so much with a hot putter and that's kind of what I was doing."
By the time Koepka's approach at 18 hit a grandstand and bounced off, a closing bogey was academic.
'Great day' for Fleetwood
Fleetwood could only watch it all unfold. But after nearly equalling the best ever round in a major of 62 he was pleased with his day's work.
"Watching them down the stretch, you've got nothing but respect for how well Brooks did, just to hole the putts at the right time," said Fleetwood, who could only watch and wait. "He kept it together. he's a world player. It wasn't great for me, but it was great as a golfer to watch how he did it and watch how he closed it out."
It was the first time since 2013 at Merion that no one broke par in the US Open, and of the four overnight leaders, Koepka was the only player to shoot an under par final round. World number one Johnson, playing alongside Koepka in the penultimate group, saw the sure putting touch that had propelled him to a four-shot halfway lead desert him. He birdied the 72nd for an even par 70 that left him alone in third on 283.
Finau, playing in the final group with Berger, closed with a double bogey at the 72nd hole for a 72 that left him fifth on 285 -- one stroke behind Masters champion Patrick Reed. Reed fired five birdies in the first seven holes but cooled off coming in for a two-under 68. Berger faded early, his 73 leaving him tied for sixth at six-over with England's Tyrrell Hatton, American Xander Schauffele and Sweden's Henrik Stenson.
Brooks Koepka with the US Open trophy
Fans watch from the hole 10 stands during the 3rd round
Daniel Berger on the 1st tee
The Rolex clock adjacent to the clubhouse
Brooks Koepka plays his third shot on his final hole
Tiger Woods plays from the thick rough on the 14th hole
The Rolex clock alongside the 9th fairway
Hideki Matsuyama on the 1st tee
Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth share a joke as they walk to the 15th green
Li Haotong on the 1st tee