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Brooks Koepka wins 117th US Open

19 June 2017

This time it was the turn of Brook Koepka to join the major-winning club, after the talented American played a brilliant final round to clinch the US Open title at Erin Hills in Wisconsin. Perhaps his only moment of doubt came on the short 13th. But a deft pitch was followed by an unerring putt from just inside seven feet.

Koepka turned in a supreme display, making three successive birdies from the 14th to stamp his authority.

"I thought the USGA did a great job with the golf course", said Brandt Snedeker, who tied for ninth place.

His play this past fall in the Ryder Cup when the USA whipped Europe, where he said he had never felt more pressure, helped him immensely. He wasn't missing shots, and the putt he made on 13 was the clincher. Hopefully though, in future majors I can play in the last or next to last group to give myself a better chance. A bunch of people told me that. Then he just cruised in playing great.

Having spent a good part of his golfing apprenticeship travelling the globe sleeping in cars and working his way up through the European Challenge Tour, Koepka now steps into the United States sporting spotlight. But rain-softened Erin Hills was a new U.S. Open course and a much different creature than most of the previous hosts. PHOTO: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images. Success was not long in arriving.

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But it was on the back nine that his charge really gained steam.

When Matsuyama, at number four the highest ranked player to make the cut, delivered the round of the day a 6-under 66 to get within one of the lead, a rampaging Koepka countered with golf's version of the knockout punch, clinching victory in ruthless style by registering three straight birdies from the 14th.

His time in Europe was short-lived though. At 27, he'd won once on the PGA Tour and once on the European Tour. The 18-time major champion Jack Nicklaus was among those who praised the Floridian. On Sunday, after three days of benign playing conditions, the wind kicked up and turned the almost 8,000-yard layout into a bucking mule. "On some of these par fives I don't even need to hit driver to get there and I putted brilliantly this week too". "I felt like I just never fully came together". PHOTO: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images. "It will happen", Koepka said. And on 11 I did the same thing for birdie. "I don't know why - I just couldn't stand the fact that I had only won once". "That was kind of the turning point of the round for me".

Only Matsuyama displayed that kind of scoring ability Sunday.

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Li found the rough with his tee shot on 18 and hacked it out with an 8-iron, but his ball settled into a deep divot on the fairway, before his third shot bounded through the green into more nasty grass, from where he took six more shots to hole out for a 10-over 82 at Erin Hills. He posted the low round of the day. "And to play well today on top of it was extra special". But no regrets. I didn't think we were playing that slow, but when they gave us the word, we played a lot quicker on 16 and 17.

Matsuyama watched the finish on television in the clubhouse.

"Brooks is a good friend of ours, and happy for him". I wish him well and congratulate him.

Sadly, there wasn't much to be said of the closing round played by the lone Australian left in the field, Marc Leishman. Out in 41, he restored some semblance of order with a two-under-par back nine. Canada's Adam Hadwin was out in the worst of it and shot an eight-over 80 to finish nine-over for the week. No disgrace, but no cigar either.

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