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

Koepka wins US Open Title

Koepka wins US Open Title

He used the pivotal stretch to pull away and finish the championships at 16-under 272.

Justin Thomas, coming off a 9-under 63 that matched the major championship scoring record and was the first 9-under round at a U.S. Open, went out in 39 and closed with a 75 to tie for ninth. His round of 66 was over almost 90 minutes before Koepka strolled to the 18th green, with the tournament all but wrapped up. The Japanese finished in fine style to secure second place, getting up and down for birdie with a chip from the rough next to the 18th green. "It hasn't sunk in, obviously, and (it) probably won't for a few days".

Koepka then frittered a golden chance to regain the lead on the 11th, but was unable to convert a nervy nine-foot putt for birdie.

Koepka moved to 14-under with a birdie at the par-5 14th hole.

Rickie Fowler was two behind Harman on 10 under after a four-under-par 68 which kept him firmly in contention.

Brian Harman hung in there for 13 holes before being run over by the Koepka freight train. Just trying to be aggressive and hit the back of the hole.

Since then, despite his great showing at the majors - he's made the cut in his past 12 appearances, with only one finish outside the top 35 - Koepka has not backed up that victory.

"I played really well today", said Matsuyama, who watched Koepka close out his title on a TV in the clubhouse.

"You've got to tip your cap".

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But it was on the back nine that his charge really gained steam. I've done it before, but he did it today.

"I didn't exactly get my dad a card, so this works". And despite the drama-free Sunday, it produced a damn good time. "I just didn't play well".

Matsuyama's 66 was the best score on a windy final day, one better than Koepka. But a par at 13, Koepka admitted afterward, meant even more. "So I think that was kind of the changing point of the round for me".

"That is an issue for a lot of us, " said Russell Henley, a teammate of Harman's at Georgia who tied for 27th at the U.S. Open. The Florida State alum opened his final round with two straight birdies, and wouldn't drop a shot until the par-4 10th, his only bogey on the back nine the entire week.

Koepka, who looks as if he would be at home in a National Football League huddle, held firm against buffeting winds and crushing pressure to claim a sensational four-shot victory over Harman and Matsuyama.

His confidence in the final round came, in part, from a short conversation the night before with Dustin Johnson, a friend who had been through his share of close calls and heartbreaks before finally becoming a major champion at the U.S. Open past year.

"Yeah, I've never been a big, big man in any sport I've played", he said. He's always been a solid player, and I think now he is starting to realize he's got what it takes. "I would have had to play some pretty spectacular golf to catch him". He led by two shots when he finished the third round, but had fallen behind by one by the time the final round began.

It just wasn't enough to faze Koepka. Jordan Spieth, who shot his lowest round (69) of the championships on the tournament's windiest day, said he wouldn't mind seeing the event return to Erin Hills.

A disturbing trend, or just a rough day on the golf course?

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