Friday, 18 October, 2019

Koepka fends off Fleetwood charge to win US Open

Fleetwood’s stunning round of 63 was not quite enough for victory as Koepka retained his title Fleetwood’s stunning round of 63 was not quite enough for victory as Koepka retained his titleBRAD PENNER USA TODAY SPORTS
Shannon Reynolds | 14 August, 2018, 17:14

American Brooks Koepka putted brilliantly to win the US Open by one stroke at Shinnecock Hills on Sunday, becoming the first player in nearly 30 years to successfully defend his title. Odd had been the last.

"I've taken a look at the golf course and what I think will really work", Furyk said. He was in a four-way tie for the lead after three rounds at Shinnecock Hills and shot 68 on a benign course for a 1-over 281 total, as no player could match par. Spieth is the defending champion, as numerous players who struggled at Shinnecock Hills will welcome a return to a golf course they can more easily conquer.

Now he has so much more maturity, as he proved at Shinnecock Hills showing he could ignore outside distractions, be it the weather, one bad shot or hole, or the crowd.

No one on the PGA Tour has played as consistently as Koepka in recent Majors.

Koepka birdies hole 16 and is up two strokes with two holes left. The best they could hope for was to hack the ball out and let it roll into the bunker on the other side of the green.

A hot putter kept him in front as he made clutch pars at the next three holes.

Koepka has taken an unorthodox route to the top, having started his professional career in Europe rather than at home in the United States, but I think we are seeing the rewards of that.

He wasn't through. He hacked out of the hay over the green at No. 12, pitched beautifully to 7 feet and made the par.

He seized control with a wedge to 3 1/2 feet for birdie on the par-5 16th for a two-shot lead, and he never flinched until it no longer mattered.

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His approach at 18 hit a grandstand and bounced off, but a closing bogey was all he needed. "I did so many good things it is hard to look back with regret over one shot". It is the first time there were co-low amateurs in the U.S. Open since 2010 (Scott Langley and Russell Henley). "I just keep doing what I'm doing, keep plugging away", said Koepka, who despite his defending champion status was flying under the radar at Shinnecock Hills, where Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, world No 1 Dustin Johnson and multiple major victor Rory McIlroy were generating pre-tournament buzz. I enjoy that. That's fun. I enjoy being pushed to the limit.

That it was, starting on Thursday, and especially on Saturday.

"Now, he and JENA again celebrate the U.S. Open championship", Buck said, adding emphasis on "Jena". He carded three bogeys in his final seven holes of the day to finish with a 72, but those four pars he had to grind out in the same stretch left him in tie for first place and in the mix to win on Sunday. However, ran out of gas on the back nine after posting three bogies through his first four holes. Lydia Ko shot a 67 to finish third at 18 under. Just standing on the tee boxes at Shinnecock - with sloping fairways, brutal rough and downright evil greens - can knock the best players in the world off their game.

Justin Rose also continued his fantastic year with another good week.

"I always feel like I'm overlooked", Koepka said. "He was busy grinding his tail off and I was busy grinding mine". When asked Friday if he believed he could, he snapped back, "Absolutely", then asked rhetorically, "Have you seen how I've been swinging?"

Speaking after his remarkable achievement, Koepka said it was special to be one of just two people alive to retain the US Open.

Brooks Koepka captured his first US Open a year ago at Erin Hills with a belligerent display of big hitting and aggressive scoring, devastating the Wisconsin course with a winning score of 16-under.

Last year, as you may recall, when Koepka gave his girlfriend a celebratory smooch, Buck identified the young woman as pro soccer player Becky Edwards. Anderson won his third straight in 1905. Ben Hogan won three straight that he played, missing in 1949 after almost getting killed when his vehicle struck a bus.

Masters champion Patrick Reed flirted with the second leg of the Grand Slam.

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