Brooks Koepka had simply tapped in a 20-inch putt to develop into the 117thU.S. Open champion and he gave it the clichéd low-grade golf fist pump. Twice. That was it.
The celebration was about as muted as you’ll ever see from somebody who simply gained their first main. His efficiency was something however.
It capped every week the place the most important names vanished after two rounds leaving the leaderboard a set of not often seen names. And, boy, there have been a variety of names.
However in the long run, a 4-gap stretch of par and three birdies made Koepka – a 2008 graduate of Cardinal Newman Excessive Faculty in West Palm Seashore — a family identify. This U.S. Open wasn’t misplaced, it was gained by a 27-yr-previous Jupiter resident who had solely gained one different PGA event.
“That’s in all probability one of many coolest issues I’ve ever skilled and to do it on Father’s Day, it’s fairly neat,” Koepka stated. “I didn’t precisely get my dad a card, so this works.”
Koepka shot a sixty seven on his profitable spherical. He had six birdies and one bogey in an exhibition of regular play. He shot beneath par in all 4 rounds at Erin Hills golf course.
The margin of victory was 4 strokes and the profitable complete was sixteen beneath. Hideki Matsuyama, who shot a scorching sixty six, and Brian Harman, the third spherical chief, have been at 12 underneath. Tommy Fleetwood was at eleven underneath and Xander Schauffele, Invoice Haas and Rickie Fowler have been yet one more stroke again.
Koepka, who was the Solar Sentinel’s 2006 boys golfer of the yr in Palm Seashore County, was principally unknown to the informal golf watcher however his athletic construct and strong type have made him a favourite of these in search of the subsequent star of their fantasy golf league. Previous to Sunday, his solely PGA Tour victory was within the 2015 Waste Administration Open in Phoenix. However he’s been shut rather a lot.
His earlier greatest U.S. Open end was a tie for fourth in 2014.
For those who stay in Jupiter and also you have been taking a type of childhood exams to determine which merchandise doesn’t belong, Koepka would have been that merchandise when speaking concerning the group’s professional golfer inhabitants.
The town is residence to defending U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and, in fact, Tiger Woods. Koepka and Johnson even practice and hang around collectively. Now he really belongs.
Johnson, who didn’t make the minimize, referred to as Koepka Saturday night time.
“It was an extended telephone name,” Koepka stated. “It was like two minutes, it wasn’t a lot. However he simply stated a number of issues, to only keep affected person. And I’ll win if I keep affected person and simply maintain doing what I’m doing.”
The stretch during which Koepka gained this event began on thirteen. He was tied with Harman. His tee shot on the par three ended up rolling off the inexperienced and down a slope. He had about seventy eight ft, principally uphill, to succeed in the pin. He got here to about 9 ft together with his second shot. He made the putt.
“That par save was large on thirteen,” Koepka stated. “That’s the rationale I had a lot confidence coming down, particularly with the par 5 arising, understanding that I wanted to birdie that.”
Koepka acquired in hassle once more on the par-5 14th when he put his second shot in a bunker. However an excellent sand shot put the ball to about 4 ft for birdie. He made the putt.
“Leaving that within the bunker wasn’t that dangerous,” he stated. “Anyplace over there was high-quality.”
Truly, all he needed to do was par out and he would in all probability win the event. He had a two-shot lead over Matsuyama, who was within the clubhouse.
However on 15, which was the hardest enjoying gap on the course on Sunday, he put his strategy about 10 ft away for birdie. He made the putt.
And on sixteen, a par three, he put his tee shot 17 ft away for his third birdie in a row. He made the putt.
He had a 4-shot lead with two holes to play. He parred them each.
“I performed actually strong from the second we received right here on Monday and throughout [Sunday],” Koepka stated. “The ball-hanging was fairly slid. It needed to be, particularly with the wind. And I obtained on the market with the putter just a little bit [Sunday] and all week. So throughout my recreation is fairly strong and I couldn’t be happier.”
Harman, who was enjoying within the last group of the day simply behind the FSU graduate Koepka, had misplaced all his power as he approached the 18th gap the place a par would have given him sole possession of second place. He bogeyed the opening.
“It bites a bit bit proper now,” Harman stated. “However Brooks performed so properly at the moment. The circumstances have been so robust. So that you’re within the subsequent to final group and also you shoot the [second] lowest spherical of the day, that’s robust, that’s robust.”
Matsuyama had the spherical of the day, a six-underneath sixty six. He had eight birdies and two bogeys.
“We watched the end within the clubhouse on TV,” Matsuyama stated. “Brooks is an effective good friend of ours and we’re completely satisfied for him. Want him nicely and congratulate him. I’ll attempt to beat him subsequent time.”
Koepka’s win ran the streak of first-time main winners to seven as he joined up with Jason Day (2015 PGA Championship), Danny Willett (2016 Masters), Dustin Johnson (2016 U.S. Open), Henrik Stenson (2016 British Open), Jimmy Walker (2016 PGA) and Sergio Garcia (2017 Masters).
The U.S. Open returns to certainly one of its extra conventional (learn troublesome) programs subsequent yr when it goes again to Shinnecock Hills within the Hamptons.
Koepka gained’t be nameless. There might be expectations. However his resume shall be wanting an entire higher than this yr.