ERIN, Wis. — It seems candid that one of a longest drivers in a story of golf would attain on a many expanded vital championship march of all 441 that have been contested. But there is also an irony to a proceed Brooks Koepka won a 2017 U.S. Open during Erin Hills.
Koepka emerged from a scrum of bunched-up, baby-faced, electric American talents that enclosed Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed on a final day of a tournament. He dismissed a final-round 67 to tie a U.S. Open record of 16 underneath standard and impact a doorway on Brian Harman and Hideki Matsuyama by 4 strokes to win his initial vital championship.
It wasn’t easy, yet it didn’t demeanour all that difficult.
After not creation a singular spook on a behind 9 during Erin Hills over a initial 3 days, Koepka three-putted No. 10 on Sunday to dump a cadence to a domain and tumble behind into a tie during a time with Harman during 13 under. It was a final mistake he would make.
The march during Erin Hills was chided all week for being too easy. Johnny Miller even joked that it was like a Greater Milwaukee Open after Justin Thomas tied his U.S. Open record of 63 in a third round. It’s loyal that Koepka’s measure of 272 was tied with 4 others for a third-lowest in complicated U.S. Open history.
But it’s also loyal that a lane in Erin perceived some-more sleet and reduction breeze than a USGA had planned. A land that was penal on outrageous misses and compulsory an strident apportionment of drives and proceed shots amid a sprawling fairways was worse than it looked and some-more strategically-demanding than we would imagine.
Koepka played it ideally after a hiccup on No. 10. He done 3 loyal pars followed by 3 loyal birdies on a heart of a march in a feverishness of a contest on Sunday, and that is how U.S. Opens are taken with simplicity. After a disorderly integrate of years for a USGA during Chambers Bay and Oakmont, Koepka left no doubt.
“I don’t consider we even mentioned to my caddie, Ricky, even about winning all week,” pronounced Koepka. “He only told me, ‘You’re personification good, only keep going. Let’s go. Let’s finish this thing off. One some-more good shot. One some-more good shot.’ And that was kind of all we talked about all week. It sounds flattering boring, yet it’s a truth.'”
You can splash tedious out of U.S. Open trophies.
Koepka holed a huffy 9-foot standard putt on No. 12 to save himself. An up-and-down from a fort on a par-5 14th put him during 14 under. Then he finished a play on a hole that exemplified a nuanced plan of a march with 50-yard-wide fairways.
The 15th is brief for a standard 4 — on Sunday it played only 356 yards. But since of a tucked back-right pin that yielded only 6 birdies all day, Koepka laid adult off a tee, and he did not lay adult utterly well.
“On 15, we kind of strike indeed a bad tee shot,” pronounced Koepka.
He had 150 yards to a hole and strike an 8-iron to 8 feet. A birdie there and that fundamentally hermetic a deal.
“That second shot was unbelievable,” pronounced Koepka. “That pin is unresolved off a behind and into a wind. It was flattering impressive, or we thought. It was substantially one of a best shots I’ve strike all week, to be honest with you.”
“Down a stretch, he was brilliant,” pronounced personification partner Tommy Fleetwood, who shot even-par 72. “He wasn’t blank shots … 15 was a best shot we suspicion he strike all day. we consider it competence have been a small late drifting into that behind right pin. we can’t tell we how tough that shot is. we consider that was a best shot he strike all day. He only cruised and he played great. It was unequivocally good to watch.”
That shot on No. 15 was a microcosm for Koepka’s whole week. He led a domain in greens strike in law with a overwhelming 62 of 72. He was T4 in a domain in fairways strike with 49 of 56. The towering, powerful American didn’t skip a damn mark a whole week. He came into this contest No. 151 on a PGA Tour in fairways strike and No. 98 in greens in regulation. Then he finished tip 5 in both.
And this is a mocking part: Koepka didn’t win on a 7,800-yard march since he was prolonged (even yet he was long). He won since he was some-more accurate than anyone in a field. Koepka attack 49 of 56 fairways is not a good unfamiliarity for everybody else involved. On this week during Erin Hills, Koepka played with fire, yet he won with ice.
“I played unequivocally plain from a impulse we got here on Monday and all a proceed by until today,” pronounced Koepka. “The ball-striking was flattering solid. It had to be today, generally with a wind. This golf course, we had to put a turn in a fairway and if we didn’t we unequivocally got penalized, only plain and simple.”
A prolonged birdie putt during No. 16 authorised Koepka to boyant home. He parred No. 17 and went for a grievous 681-yard 18th in two. He didn’t utterly strech it, yet a travel into a throat of a 72nd hole was fantastic anyway. Koepka private his hat. He knew. The throng gave him a rolling ovation. He done standard and flexed his comically vast right arm. It was over.
“It was always going to be difficult,” pronounced his coach, Claude Harmon III. “The start helped him a lot. He was attack so many greens. He had been attack so many greens all week. We talked about that was a goal. we figured, if he could strike a lot of greens today, he was going to give himself looks.”
The stereotypes with Koepka are true. He’s built like Kam Chancellor, looks like James Franco and plays golf like we would design a complicated American archetype to play golf.
You competence have listened a account this week about a jaunty by line from Dustin Johnson to Koepka and on down a line to each comparison in college with entrance to a gym and dreams of pocketing a PGA Tour card. This is a sleepy trope, yet it’s also one that’s true. Everything Koepka does is big. He hits it forever. He walks courses like he helped erect them. And he closes with a finality bereft of geniality.
Koepka, who fake himself in Europe on a accumulation of tours, shot 65 in a final turn of a 2014 Turkish Airlines Open to shave Ian Poulter by one. He got Hideki Matsuyama and Bubba Watson by one during a 2015 Phoenix Open with a shutting 66. Then he teamed adult with Brandt Snedeker to pulp Danny Willett and Martin Kaymer during a 2016 Ryder Cup 5 and 4 before pummeling Willett on his possess by a same margin. Koepka tied with Snedeker and Patrick Reed for high indicate male on that U.S. squad. The lesson? Koepka’s not here since he enjoys Sunday afternoon strolls.
It was some-more of a same during Erin Hills.
On a week when Middle America flexed on a best players in a game, Koepka clapped behind during her 7,800 yards of toothy farmland not with a brute, blunt force we competence design yet with a hands of a peaceful giant.
His energy was precise, and his pointing was rewarded. His is a story of this 11-year-old march in a heart of a nation. You can glow adult all a muscular tractors and tillers in a universe to carve adult this thick glacier-created land, and those engines will sound with a ferocity of a integrate hundred horses. But but a solid running force to keep them centered, there is no Erin Hills.
Brooks Koepka but a ability to strap his inconceivable ability is zero some-more than a bad prolonged expostulate contestant. But when Erin Hills asked Brooks Koepka to corral his stretch and broach a performance, he obliged.
No matter what we suspicion of a problem of a golf march this week, we can all determine that a U.S. Open asks so most of a participants. It begs we for 72 holes of incalculable consistency. It asks so most that it borders on a absurd.
Koepka full a land, though, and became a seventh uninterrupted first-time vital leader in a process. He will be lauded over and clamored for since of his energy and a pitch speed that melts Trackmans. But on a week when Johnson, McIlroy and Jason Day all missed a cut notwithstanding sharpened rocket after rocket into a low-hanging skies of Wisconsin, Koepka valid himself a golfer.
You can call Koepka many things. Prince of a pushing range. Secret screw of a Ryder Cup keys. Biggest badass on any debate on a planet. “He came and kicked everybody’s donkey over there [in Europe], didn’t he?” pronounced Fleetwood. But now we have to supplement one some-more moniker to that group.
United States Open champion.
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