Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Hideki Matsuyama closes with 6-under 66 in US Open

Below Harman on 12 under, three players are exhausted on 11 under - Thomas, Brooks Koepka and England's Tommy Fleetwood. Knowing for sure he would walk away the champion.

"I thought it was a fantastic round of golf, given what we were dealing with to start the day", the 23-year-old said.

"It's taken me a long time to learn how to not try to win".

Harman (72) had to settle for a share of second with world number four Hideki Matsuyama, who climbed to 12 under courtesy of a closing 66, while England's Tommy Fleetwood (72) rounded out the top four.

Koepka pulled away on the closing holes by making a hard save of par on the 13th hole, then sinking birdie putts on the 14th, 15th and 16th holes. Brooks Koepka won it, which is really how it should be.

He followed with birdies at 15 and 16 to suddenly widen his gap to four shots and close in on the Open championship.

The good news for the pair is perhaps this first-time majors thing is going to be a lasting trend.

He bogeyed the 12th and 13th holes.

Third round leader Brian Harman, who had led by one-shot at the start of the round, finished second on 12 under after an even-par 72.

As Rickie Fowler's tee shot soared into the first fairway Sunday, a man yelled: "Let's go, Rickie!"

Brian Harman was obviously disappointed with his bogey to finish.

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Indeed, Koepka's brand of power play is very much that of the 21st century, epitomised by the 379-yard 3-wood he launched off the 72nd tee. "(The afternoon wind) is light and variable compared to the beginning of the day, but that's what you get for playing a poor first few rounds".

Unfortunately, what happened was he discovered that he still has a long way to go if he hopes to one day become one of golf's elite.

I think there's no reason why it couldn't host another one.

"I don't believe in moral victories, " said Harman, 30, a two-time victor on the PGA Tour who was playing in just his eighth major championship. I think I hit 17 greens today which was just awesome in these conditions. He had three bogeys and two birdies on back nine, finishing with a 1-under 71.

One of his Ryder Cup teammates, Brandt Snedeker, could see big things ahead for Koepka. But I think what was underestimated was how well he knew me, how well he knew my game. Unable to get up and down Harman bogeyed to leave Koepka clear on 13 under.

Fleetwood, who was hoping to become the third English victor since 1924 after Tony Jacklin (1970) and Justin Rose (2013), began the day in a tie for second and made an encouraging start with a birdie from eight feet on the second.

Koepka finished with a score of 67 and tied Rory McIllroy's record for the lowest score in relation to par in history.

Like Harman, Thomas couldn't match Koepka's final-round mastery, which came on Father's Day.

"I don't know what to say right now, but it's pretty cool", Koepka said. "I didn't exactly get my dad a card, so this works".

Scottie Scheffler (73) pipped Cameron Champ (76) to the low amateur honours with a one-under aggregate total and Jordan Spieth closed with an encouraging 69 to end the week one over. And why not? The 24-year-old 2011 Harlingen South graduate had qualified for the 117th U.S. Open golf tournament and was headed from his home in Houston to Erin, Wisconsin, fully expecting to overcome the odds and win. Only four left-handers-Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson, Mike Weir and Bob Charles-have won major championships.

A 12-times victor on the PGA Tour and the USA captain for this autumn's Presidents Cup, Stricker was denied a request for a special exemption into the field and had to qualify. I've been in the hunt in a lot of golf tournaments. But I would like to think that's not why I played how I did today.

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