U.S. Open: Brooks Koepka goes back-to-back with impressive victory

Brooks Koepka became the seventh player to win consecutive U.S. Open titles and the first in 29 years

SOUTHAMPTON, New York-Brooks Koepka defending his title was the expected storyline for the 118th U.S. Open and it provided the ideal counterpoint to the near travesty the United States Golf Association (USGA) caused with its ill-thought-out preparation for host course Shinnecock Hills during Saturday's third-round play. "But I knew that it was going to be that much more hard. Seven under is incredible", Koepka said.

There is no doubt now, however, that Koepka is back, and he has proved his major mettle on the toughest test the US Open can offer.

Koepka shot a closing 68 to finish at one-over 281.

It might have been a moment of madness, but admitting his intention certainly didn't do Phil any favours and has brought up a lot of questions about what it means to commit a serious breach of etiquette on the golf course.

"Right now I feel like it's just shy but you never know". That the Open takes place at Carnoustie, where he shot a course-record 63 in last year's Dunhill Links Championship, will naturally intensify focus on the 27-year-old.

Discussions surrounding Shinnecock and the USGA's handling of it may overshadow the tournament as a whole, but the achievements of a player like Koepka can not be underestimated. "We started warming up still with a little chance but that time goes pretty quickly". "It was something I didn't think I could do from where I was".

Fleetwood's epic final round could have broken the all-time low round in a U.S. Open with a 62, but he narrowly missed a 10-foot birdie at the 18th.

But, like any great champion, every bit of progress comes in gradual steps and Koepka posted a four under-66 to climb back into contention.

But with playing conditions for the final round considerably more favourable than Saturday's heavily criticised third round, Koepka was three under after five holes. I think that's why he's so good now, the competitiveness that he's had to go through with myself and my dad.

Cowen told Omnisport: "I'd been to Memphis the week before last year's U.S. Open and watched him play all four rounds and his attitude and body language was very poor, so I pulled him to one side on the Tuesday at the U.S. Open and said, 'Look, you're not going to win anything with that sort of attitude'".

Fleetwood finishes with a masterful 7-under 63 in the final round, tied for the lowest round in U.S. Open history. "Sometimes you feel like you are about to break mentally, but that's what I enjoy", he added.

A curious aspect of Sunday related to Fleetwood finishing his round and holding a prominent leaderboard position three hours before Koepka strode from the 18th green.

Koepka is among the best of America's new golfers; powerful athletes who, due to their exceptional physical condition, could probably have made a career in any other sport.

Now that he is one of the top players in the world, it is surprising that Koepka didn't intend to become a golfer. Johnson was one shot behind at the turn until a trio of three-putt bogeys on the back nine.

At the 14th he was again faced with a hard putt, this time from eight feet to save par. He had broken out of the pack with three birdies in the first four holes.

But unlike a year ago, when his family was back in Florida watching from afar, they were all on the course Sunday, mingled in with friends, ready to celebrate an incredible Father's Day gift.

It has already been labelled the "Pebble Treble", but Brooks Koepka has his sights on more than just a remarkable third straight victory in the
US Open.

"Yes, I'd love to hit the putts on 16 and 18 again".

Brooks Koepka moved to the top of the Ryder Cup standings after the first two majors, followed by Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed. Ben Hogan won three straight that he played, missing in 1949 after almost getting killed when his vehicle struck a bus.

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