Koepka powers his way to record-tying U.S. Open victory
ERIN, WIS-- (AP) Brooks Koepka traveled around the world to find his game. He found stardom right at home as the U.S. Open champion.
Koepka broke away from a tight pack with three straight birdies on the back nine Sunday at Erin Hills and closed with a 5-under 67 to win the U.S. Open for his first major championship. Koepka takes home $2.16 million, the largest single-day earnings in golf.
A par on the final hole tied Rory McIlroy's record score to par at 16 under for a four-shot victory.
Not even the wind could stop the onslaught of low scores at Erin Hills.
And nothing could stop Koepka.
"What I've done this week is amazing," Koepka.
Tied for the lead with six holes to play, Koepka made an 8-foot par putt on the 13th hole. As Brian Harman began to fade, Koepka poured it on with birdies over the next three holes, lightly pumping his fist after each one.
His reaction was subdued, just like that of his close friend and last year's U.S. Open champion, Dustin Johnson. They spend a lot of time together on the course, in the gym and at home, so Koepka has seen that U.S. Open trophy plenty at Johnson's house in South Florida.
"That's probably the most emotion I've ever shown coming down the stretch," Koepka said. "It feels amazing to get my name on this trophy with so many other great names. It's truly an honor."
And now he gets to keep it for a year -- with his name on it.
It capped quite a journey for the 27-year-old Floridian. Without a card on any tour when he got out of Florida State, Koepka filled his passport on the Challenge Tour with stamps from Kazakhstan to Kenya, Scotland and Spain, India and the Madeira Island.
One night in Scotland, he called his agent and wanted to come home, even though he was leading the tournament. He had been on the road for so long, in so many different countries, and was feeling lonely. He won the next day to graduate to the European Tour. The next year, he earned a spot in the U.S. Open through a qualifier in England, and his tie for fourth at Pinehurst No. 2 helped him earn a card on the PGA Tour.
Koepka Extends 1st-Time Winners Streak
Brooks Koepka became the seventh straight first-time winner of a major championship with his record-tying win at Erin Hills on Sunday.
Koepka, who finished at 16-under 272, became the seventh straight first-time winner of a major championship, and it was the first time since 1998-2000 that Americans won their national championship three straight years.
Tommy Fleetwood, who played alongside Koepka and closed with a 72 to finish fourth, played the Challenge Tour a year before Koepka arrived.