Brooks Koepka Wins US Open With Record-Tying Effort

Brooks Koepka Jena Sims

Without a card on any tour when he got out of Florida State, he filled his passport with stamps from the most unlikely outposts in golf while playing the minor leagues on the European Tour - Kazakhstan and Kenya, Portugal and India and throughout Europe.

Koepka's win extended a remarkable run of victories by players who had never previously won a major.

Navigating tricky conditions with pure ball-striking, Koepka pulled away from a battle with Harman to complete 72 holes in 16-under 272, tying the championship scoring record in relation to par that Rory McIlroy set in 2011 at Congressional Country Club.

"It hasn't sunk in, obviously, and probably won't for a few days".

"That was kind of the changing point of the round for me", he said.

"I had a couple get away from me [on Saturday]".

While he hit 350-yard drives with his driver and 3-wood, one of his best weapons was patience.

"It was a long phone call for us, it was like two minutes". But it was an important 120 seconds. I tried not to get ahead of myself and stay in the moment.

Matsuyama's 66 was the best score on a windy final day, one better than Koepka. He began his round with two birdies, missed just one green in regulation and turned the wide-open U.S. Open into a one-man show with three consecutive birdies on the back nine starting on the 14th, each punctuated by a fist pump.

Koepka, who finished at 16-under 272, became the seventh straight first-time victor of a major championship, and it was the first time since 1998-2000 that Americans won their national championship three straight years. He'll move from his present rank of No. 22 in the official world rankings into the top 12. It had to be today.

"And I felt confident all week, so to feel as confident as I did on a Sunday of a major and coming down the stretch was pretty neat". "Came up a little short", Matsuyama told reporters through an interpreter. "And I built a lot of confidence off of that". 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. Fowler shot 72 and finished at 10 under, in a tie for fifth. Charley Hoffman (71) finished solo eighth at 9 under. "All around, my game was pretty solid, and if you can go around here without making a double bogey, then you're doing all right". His talent is unquestioned, his power admired, and his laid-back demeanor envied by many. He's just really impressive physically. But I think what was underestimated was how well he knew me, how well he knew my game. "He might even smile".

"Yeah, I like it", he said about Erin Hills.

And when he completed his hat-trick from 16 feet on the 16th, all that was left to decide was whether he would equal or break McIlroy's record.

While thumping wind made its first appearance of the week in the final round, it stayed around for just four hours of play.

So on the eve of the final round of this year's U.S. Open, Johnson called to provide a little guidance: "Don't fall down the stairs", he said. Thirty-one players finished under-par, a new tournament mark.

Harman wasn't alone. Rickie Fowler (72) entered a major Sunday with a good shot at victory for the second time since April, but didn't get much going. It was the 30th 63 in a major championship. There were 133 sub-par rounds, nine more than the previous record in that 1990 U.S. Open. "I played two good rounds, but it wasn't enough".

Koepka prior to today labeled himself as an underachiever.

Koepka has just one win on the PGA Tour, but now has five top tens and a win in 14 career major championships as a professional.

"I felt like I should be winning more", he said.

Harman won the 2003 U.S. Junior Amateur. It was just the third time he made the cut. It helped him on Sunday. "It really got to me is all I can say".

"I loved this course as soon as I saw it".

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