Tough course or easy, Brooks Koepka repeats as US Open champ

Tanya Simon
June 22, 2018

This is not exactly new territory for Koepka, who is the defending U.S. Open champion after winning his first major a year ago at Erin Hills, Wis. Berger, meanwhile, is chasing his first major. That hasn't happened since Curtis Strange won at Brookline in 1988 and Oak Hill in 1989.

Only one of them did, which is why Koepka is the US Open champion.

Koepka is 2 under par through nine at Shinnecock Hills and 1 over for the tournament. He has not had a top 10 in the U.S. Open since he tied for fourth at Pebble Beach in 2010. There were no balls bouncing pin high on Saturday, and although the greens appeared to have lost some color, there were still holes that were playing tough, yet fair. A lot of the early rounds, (Tommy) Fleetwood played an unbelievable round, goes posts 7-under.

Key stat: The last five major championships have been won by Americans in their 20s. He missed a 9-footer for birdie on the last hole, keeping him from becoming the first to shoot 62 in U.S. Open history.

Masters champion Patrick Reed (284) started the day three strokes off the lead, but birdied five of the first seven holes to briefly share the lead of the Koepka.

Yes, USGA officials were at their incompetent worst when they set up Shinnecock Hills like a roller coaster, with scores peaking one day and plummeting the next. But his second-round 66 changed everything and propelled him back into contention.

The USGA pledged to ease off the severe conditions at Shinnecock Hills and, thus far, that has been the case.

It was the first time since 2013 at Merion that no one broke par in the US Open, and of the four overnight leaders, Koepka was the only player to shoot an under par final round.

That allowed the 28-year-old the luxury of a bogey on the 18th and he eventually signed for a 68 to finish one over par and just a shot ahead of Fleetwood, with world number one Dustin Johnson a stroke further back.

The USGA pledged to ease off the severe conditions at Shinnecock Hills. Anyone who wanted the US Open trophy would have to prise it out of his clenched, brawny arms.

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"He's proven he can win on a classic" course, odd said.

If our calculations are correct, we're figuring Rovell is using saying what Finau would have pocketed if he shot par on the last hole and was +3 for the tournament instead of +5.

Fowler played with Phil Mickelson, who shot a 69 in his 27th U.S. Open without winning.

He one-putted two other times for par - 6 feet at No. 12 and 8 feet at No. 14. This time he raised his arms in mock triumph.

Tommy Fleetwood of England, waves to spectators after finishing the final round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship, Sunday, June 17, 2018, in Southampton, N.Y.

The home of the 2018 U.S. Open had almost four days of completely different setups to test the best players in the world.

A day after scores soared on the dried out greens, the US Golf Association admitted the course got out of hand, adding plenty of moisture and some slightly more forgiving pin positions.

"I felt like I played pretty well", Johnson said.

He birdied the 72 for an even par 70 that left him alone in third on 283.

As for Phil Mickelson's freaky sextuple bogey on the 13th green the day before, "he should have been disqualified", Kernell said, though not self-righteously.

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