Brooks Koepka emerged from a scrum of bunched-up, baby-faced, electric American talents that included Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed on the final day of the US Open, firing a final-round 67 to tie a U.S. Open record of 16 under par and slam the door on Brian Harman and Hideki Matsuyama by four strokes to win his first major
After not making a single bogey on the back nine at Erin Hills over the first three days, Koepka three-putted No. 10 on Sunday to drop a stroke to the field and fall back into a tie at the time with Harman at 13 under. It was the last mistake he would make.
Justin Thomas tied his U.S. Open record of 63 in the third round.
Koepka played it perfectly after the hiccup on No. 10. He made three straight pars followed by three straight birdies on the heart of the course in the heat of the tournament on Sunday, and that is how U.S. Opens are taken with simplicity. After a messy couple of years for the USGA at Chambers Bay and Oakmont, Koepka left no doubt.
Koepka holed a touchy 9-foot par putt on No. 12 to save himself. An up-and-down from the bunker on the par-5 14th put him at 14 under. Then he ended the drama on a hole that exemplified the nuanced strategy of a course with 50-yard-wide fairways.
The 15th is short for a par 4 -- on Sunday it played just 356 yards. But because of a tucked back-right pin that yielded just six birdies all day, Koepka laid up off the tee, and he did not lay up particularly well.
He had 150 yards to the hole and hit an 8-iron to eight feet. A birdie there and that basically sealed the deal.
He led the field in greens hit in regulation with a stunning 62 of 72. He was T4 in the field in fairways hit with 49 of 56. The towering, overpowering American didn't miss a spot the entire week. He came into this tournament No. 151 on the PGA Tour in fairways hit and No. 98 in greens in regulation. Then he finished top five in both.