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19 Junio 2017, 10:04 | Gerardo Tarin
It capped quite a journey for the Wellington native.
Brooks Koepka captured his maiden major championship at the US Open after recording a joint tournament low score of 16-under par at Erin Hills. He used the pivotal stretch to pull away and finish the championships at 16-under 272.
McIlroy finished at 16-under 268 when he won on rain-softened Congressional in the 2011 U.S. Open.
Koepka admitted to Golf Digest in 2015 his preference for baseball: "If I could do it over again, I'd play baseball - 100 percent, no doubt", he said. "So I think that was the changing point of the round". It hasn't sunk in, obviously, yet, and probably won't for a few days.
The muscular American, who started the day one back of the lead, tamed his nerves and a wind-whipped course, carding six birdies, including two to kick-start his round, against a single bogey for a five-under 67.
Harman (72) had to settle for a share of second with world number four Hideki Matsuyama, who climbed to 12 under courtesy of a closing 66, while England's Tommy Fleetwood (72) rounded out the top four.
He then drilled a 300-yard second shot to around eight feet before rolling in his eagle putt to roars from the galleries.
If any doubt remained over who was going to succeed Dustin Johnson as the victor of the year's second major, Koepka ensured his victory was inevitable by rolling in yet another birdie on the par-three 16th. Check and check As we have a new United States open champion. But after starting the day off with a bogey on the par-4 10th hole, things went down hill fast and before he knew it he was 8-over par and at the bottom of the field.
Harman had been tied with Koepka after his birdie putt on the third did a full circuit of the hole before dropping in, but found heavy rough off the tee on the 12th to make only his third bogey of the week.
Elsewhere, Masters champion Sergio Garcia finished with a 71 to stay on six under, six behind Harman.
"Struck it well, hit a bunch of greens, and that's what you've got to do to play well around here".
While he faded on the back nine, he carded a level par round of 72 to finish fourth. I've done it before, but he did it today. "But it's a totally different feel and atmosphere than what I just did here this week". "Maybe narrow the fairways a bit, and I'd like to see the fescue a little bit thinner, so it's not a full-shot penalty for hitting in there".
Even with the three birdies in a row, it was a par save from nine feet at the 13th hole that Koepka credits for getting his round going.
It's been a steady rise in the sport for Koepka, if not necessarily a straight one. But a par at 13, Koepka admitted afterward, meant even more. "I think he beat me by 10, so he put me in my place", Haas said after making birdie on 18 to finish at 10 under Sunday.
As Koepka picked up momentum, Harman began to lose steam. "The conditions were so tough".
Justin Thomas became the first man to shoot a nine-under-par round at the US Open and only the fifth 63 in its 117-year history.
Rickie Fowler - The PGA Tour's new fan favorite came close to capturing his elusive first major championship. "There's something about majors where I just focus in a lot more", he said, and the record does show this: 15 majors so far, five top-10 finishes, four top-five finishes and a major, the seventh consecutive golf major to go to a first-time victor in this populous era. "I don't know what to say right now but it's pretty cool".
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Brooks Koepka wins US Open title after record week
Koepka then frittered a golden chance to regain the lead on the 11th, but was unable to convert a nervy nine-foot putt for birdie. Given the list of illustrious names who could not survive past 36 holes here, special credit is due to Scottie Scheffler.
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Brooks Koepka caps a record week with US Open title
Miller, though impressed by Thomas' round which included an eagle, nine birdies and two bogeys, was not exactly in awe. The Globe's most recent sports headlines delivered to your inbox every morning. "It bites a little bit right now.
Koepka wins first major championship at US Open
Koepka then frittered a golden chance to regain the lead on the 11th, but was unable to convert a nervy nine-foot putt for birdie. Here's the rest of the purse breakdown for the 66 pros who made the cut. "That was kind of lights out", Harman said.
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Brooks Koepka wins US Open title
Jordan Spieth may not have finished in the top either, but he had one of the best rounds Sunday at -3. Fowler gave himself a break: "You kind of have to say, 'Hey, it's a major, I played well this week"'.
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