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Harman, Koepka set pace in US Open finale

19 June 2017

While he hit 350-yard drives with his driver and 3-wood, one of his best weapons was patience. Koepka simply couldn't miss.

Li said he enjoyed the experience despite struggling in the final two rounds and reckoned it would help his confidence in the long run. But it was an important 120 seconds.

That put him in Sunday's final pairing - a 2:54 p.m. tee time - and Thomas, an early bird, said it was "bizarre for me", hanging around the house he shared with Fowler, trying to avoid the phone, the TV, all that was being written and said about him until it was time to go to the course.

Curtis Strange, a victor of two U.S. Opens, on different courses in a different era, told the new victor, "You don't know it, but your life has changed overnight".

This makes seven straight men's golf majors won by first-time winners, dating to Jason Day's victory in the 2015 PGA Championship. He'll move from his present rank of No. 22 in the official world rankings into the top 12.

"I made the birdie right there at 14. then (Koepka) birdied 14, 15, 16", Harman said, "and that was kind of lights out". Matsuyama came storming home with a 66, the lowest round of the day. But Brooks played so well today.

And, as he also noted, there are no moral victories. Today my game wasn't quite there, but still got it round in level par. But at the same time, I don't feel as though I lost a golf tournament. None of the players in contention at Erin Hills had won a major either, so clearly this was Fowler's best chance yet.

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Tommy Fleetwood of England finished fourth at 277.

Xander Schauffele, Bill Haas and Rickie Fowler were at 10 under. Charley Hoffman (71) finished solo eighth at 9 under. "If you look at the negatives too much, I mean, you're going to be stuck doing that the whole time". His talent is unquestioned, his power admired, and his laid-back demeanor envied by many. Johnson gave him some advice in that short little conversation-stay patient, don't get ahead of yourself.

"And to be honest with you, this week I don't think I ever got nervous, not at one point". As recently as a couple of years ago he didn't seem to thrilled about his career choice. He looked dejected at times as he made his way up to the green, with Koepka's victory already assured. In part, 11-year-old Erin Hills, even in stiff winds on the last day, probably never played tough enough to have hosted an Open in the first place.

The champion started the event with birdies on the first and second holes, and if he had any semblance of nerves, they disappeared immediately. Johnny Miller even joked that it was like a Greater Milwaukee Open after Justin Thomas tied his U.S. Open record of 63 in the third round.

The cut, in relation to par, came at a tournament-tying low of 1 over.

The week ended with 31 players under par, breaking the U.S. Open record of 28 players at Medinah in 1990.

"Even though the scores were somewhat lower than a normal US Open, to finish in double digits under par at a major championship, especially the Open, it was a good week". Only four left-handers-Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson, Mike Weir and Bob Charles-have won major championships.

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In all there were a record 138 subpar rounds.

"And to win on the European Tour in Turkey and (PGA Tour in) Phoenix". In the first 116 U.S. Opens, there had been two.

Through it all Koepka kept his measured swagger on a roll and never got ahead of himself.

"And I felt confident all week, so to feel as confident as I did on a Sunday of a major and coming down the stretch was pretty neat".

"I was pretty content making pars on the front nine because I knew the kind of day it was", Harman said.

Unusual mentioned historical players including Francis Ouimet, Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, whose names are on the U.S. Open Trophy. One more good shot.

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Harman, Koepka set pace in US Open finale