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19 Junio 2017, 09:46 | Gerardo Tarin
It's undoubtedly the most important 45 minutes of the 28-year-old's entire golf career, one that bounced him from West Palm Beach (Florida) to Florida State and eventually a mini-tour in Europe, where the game became such a grind that he considered quitting.
He walked to the 18th green to a rousing ovation and left it as the U.S. Open clubhouse leader, though at five under par Steve Stricker eventually finished 11 strokes behind victor Brooks Koepka. He used the pivotal stretch to pull away and finish the championships at 16-under 272. Jason Day set the record of 19 years, 7 months, 26 days in the 2007 Legend Financial Group Classic.
"I loved it, it was so cool".
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. His 9 under was the best-ever U.S. Open score in relation to par.
Koepka was the first to strike, making a birdie on the first to go to 12 under and take a share of the lead.
He followed with birdies at 15 and 16 to suddenly widen his gap to four shots and close in on the Open championship.
Starting the final round with a bunched leaderboard, Koepka and Harman emerged from the pack to trade blows throughout the front nine. He shot even-par 72 and finished at 10-under for tournament, six back of Koepka. The strongest gusts were Sunday morning, and it tapered to a strong breeze by the afternoon.
The miscues put Koepka alone back on top of the leaderboard, a perch from which he would not be removed.
"I'm glad the fairways were wide, but there were some really hard holes out there, and I'm glad I played as well as I did", he said. "But you've got to tip your cap to him".
"I´m proud of the way I hung in there today". "I had an opportunity today and I didn't get it done". And he said he was pulling for me and just hang in there.
Despite rallying back with two closing birdies, a bogey at the 18th sealed 30-year-old Harman's fate.
Indeed, Koepka's brand of power play is very much that of the 21st century, epitomised by the 379-yard 3-wood he launched off the 72nd tee.
To think the week began with players whining about the penal nature of the knee-high fescue, to the point where the USGA responded by trimming the length of it on some holes. Unable to get up and down Harman bogeyed to leave Koepka clear on 13 under. "He went and won the golf tournament on the back nine", Harman said.
The house shared by Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas not far from Erin Hills was supposed to be the scene of someone's breaking out party Sunday night... instead it served as the scene of post mortems. This is Koepka's 10th top 25 in majors, eighth straight and fifth top 10, supplanting a previous best of T4 two times, most recently at the 2016 PGA Championship.
"I've a bit of a sour taste in my mouth, even though I'm playing for 35th or 40th or whatever it was", a disappointed Lowry said.
University Texas product Scottie Scheffler is the low amateur for this year's Open. Scheffler finished ahead of Texas A&M's Cameron Champ, who entered Sunday's final round with a two-shot lead over Scheffler, shot a 4-over 76 to finish at 288.
U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka revealed a phone call from Dustin Johnson helped him stay patient during the final round at Erin Hills.
He was two back of Jordan Spieth and Bubba Watson heading into the last round at the 2014 Masters but shot 73 and never threatened.
On the golf course, there was only a barrage of birdies.
Koepka caps a record week with US Open title
He did birdie the 16th, but it was not enough, as he finished in second with a score of 12-under-par, tied with Hideki Matsuyama . He closed with a 5-under 67, only realizing after his par on the final hole that a birdie would have set yet another U.S.
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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 captures first major, ties US Open record
Masters champion Danny Willett withdrew from the event with a sore back on Friday as the Englishman's injury woes continued. The 28-year-old started day two with a one-shot cushion but a one-over-par 73 opened the door for a four-way tie at the top.
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Brooks Koepka wins US Open, Fowler finishes 6 shots behind
Thomas was in the final group with Brian Harman , the third-round leader, and they did not tee off until almost 3 p.m. local time. Opens, on different courses in a different era, told the new victor , "You don't know it, but your life has changed overnight".