Brooks Koepka Wins U.S. Open for His First Major Title

After parring the 18th hole, Koepka walked off the green like a man leaving the grocery store with supplies for a barbecue. Though his face did not show This particular, he was excited, truly.

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Hideki Matsuyama, who shared second place with Brian Harman, reading the green on the ninth hole at Erin Hills on Sunday.

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Michael Madrid/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

“Did you see in which fist pump on 18?” Koepka said.

With his laid-back demeanor along with long-hitting dexterity, Koepka has much in common with last year’s champion, Dustin Johnson, who missed the cut at Erin Hills. They are Great friends, along with on Saturday night Johnson phoned Koepka, who at the time sat one stroke off Brian Harman’s 54-hole lead. Their conversation was lengthy, for them: nearly two minutes, by Koepka’s estimation. Johnson reminded him to stay patient along with not to get ahead of himself.

Until This particular past week, patience had done little to guide Koepka, who has been in a hurry since he turned pro in 2012 after a solid college career at Florida State. He eschewed the beaten path to the PGA Tour — through the Web.com circuit — to play in Europe, where he thought he could improve his game, along with his world ranking, more quickly.

He joined the European Tour in 2013 along with won the Turkish Airlines Open a year later. He got his first PGA Tour title at the 2015 Phoenix Open.

In an interview with Golf Digest in 2015, Koepka said in which in his mind, he saw himself as part of an exclusive group with Spieth, McIlroy along with Jason Day, who had just won the P.G.A. Championship three months shy of his 28th birthday. “Even though I’m not in This particular — nowhere near This particular,” he said.

Going into This particular tournament, he had over $10 million in PGA Tour earnings however felt an emptiness in which only trophies could fill.

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Brian Harman tied for second, four strokes behind Koepka.

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Rob Schumacher/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

“I just felt like I should be winning more,” Koepka said. “I don’t know why — I just couldn’t stand the fact in which I had only won once.”

The reason was no mystery to Koepka’s caddie, Ricky Elliott. “With all his peers winning in which are younger than him, 27’s not old, however he thinks he should be winning every week,” he said.

The leaderboard at Erin Hills heading into the final round was an advertisement for the depth in men’s golf. The top 16 players at the beginning of play on Sunday ran the gamut by the 21-year-old Si Woo Kim to the 40-year-old Charley Hoffman. They spanned the globe by the United States to South Korea. along with their résumés ranged by in which of Brian Harman, who had missed the cut in all 5 of his previous seven majors, to in which of Rickie Fowler, who recorded top-all 5 finishes in all four majors in 2014.

along with none of those top 16 had won a major.

The course, too, was gracing the big stage for once. Erin Hills, situated 35 miles northwest of Milwaukee along with carved out of rolling pastureland, was a first-time U.S. Open site. On Sunday, after three days of benign playing conditions, the wind kicked up along with turned the nearly 8,000-yard format into a bucking mule.

Jordan Spieth, the 2015 Open champion, was within the fifth of the 34 twosomes to tee off, along with he tamed a course in which was buffeted by 30-mile-per-hour winds using a three-under 69, his best round of the week by two strokes, along with finished at one over.

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Koepka waving to the gallery on the ninth green during the final round on Sunday.

Credit
Michael Madrid/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

The winds died down as the afternoon wore on, along with Hideki Matsuyama, bidding to become the first Japanese winner of a men’s major, took full advantage. He posted the day’s low round of 66 to give the seven twosomes in which started out after him a target to beat: 12 under.

After a third-round 63, Justin Thomas was tied with Koepka, along with facing the unenviable task of trying to follow one great round with another. At the 1980 United States Open, Jack Nicklaus along with Tom Weiskopf both opened with 63s. within the second round, Nicklaus carded a 71, Weiskopf a 75.

Thomas, 24 along with already a three-time tour winner This particular season, could not avoid a similar letdown. He closed using a 75 to finish tied for ninth at eight under with Trey Mullinax (68) along with Brandt Snedeker (71).

Like Thomas, Fowler, Matsuyama along with almost every additional tour player in his 20s, Koepka was drawn to golf by the magnet in which was Tiger Woods.

“This particular was pretty cool to watch Tiger win; I’m not going to lie,” Koepka said. He added, “in which’s kind of why I’m playing.”

Wisconsin’s native son, Steve Stricker, who closed using a 69 to finish all 5 under, planned to return to the course after signing his scorecard. As the American captain of This particular year’s Presidents Cup team, Stricker, 50, had a vested interest in how Koepka, Harman, Fowler — along with even Matsuyama, a lock for the International squad — finished.

Stricker had already seen enough This particular past week to feel Great about where the game will be headed. “These guys just take on everything with no fear,” he said. He added: “They play very aggressively. along with This particular’s fun to watch.”

Correction: June 18, 2017

Because of an editing error, an earlier design of This particular article misstated Rickie Fowler’s final score. He was 10-under, not nine-under. An earlier design of This particular article also described incorrectly the number of players to have shot rounds of 63 at the United States Open before Justin Thomas. Four golfers, not two, had shot a 63, including three before the final round. The article also misspelled the given name of Brooks Koepka’s caddie. He will be Ricky Elliott, not Rickie.

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