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US Open 2017: Brooks Koepka holds nerve to secure first career major at Erin Hills

June 19, 2017 1:09 AM
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US Open 2017: Brooks Koepka holds nerve to secure first career major at Erin Hills

Koepka intelligently handled the windy conditions on the final day of a thrilling tournament in Wisconsin.

Brooks Koepka secured the first major of his career by surging to glory to win the US Open in some style at Erin Hills on Sunday (18 June). Koepka was one shot behind Brian Harman going into the final day at Wisconsin but handled the windy conditions superbly and managed to finish on 16-under par, three shots ahead of second-placed Harman, whose hunt for a first career major goes on.

World number 22 Koepka was not really in the discussion before the start of the tournament at Erin Hills but was the picture of calm as he delivered a performance worthy of a seasoned major winner, with three consecutive birdies on holes 14, 15 and 16. A nerveless display from the 27-year-old ended in a round of 67, with a simple putt from three feet on the 18th earning him par for the hole, his first ever major and $2.16m (£1.7m) in prize money.

"It's unbelievable," Koepka said during the presentation ceremony. "It's pretty cool. To do it here, where I played the US Amateur, is pretty special. What I've done this week is amazing. To be in the same category as the names on this trophy is truly special."

Koepka's US Open victory is now the seventh consecutive major that has been claimed by a first-time champion, and when taking into account the performances from the likes of Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy in Wisconsin, the streak could well be extended to eight at The Open next month.

Also read: Li makes history at U.S. Open before third round 82

Delight for Koepka meant disappointment for Harman, who topped the leaderboard after the third day. But the 30-year-old's dream of becoming the first left-handed golfer to win a US Open were essentially ended on the 15th when his efforts to sink a birdie and ramp up the pressure on his compatriot ended in vain.

Harman, whose Wikipedia page was edited to describe him as 'boring' after he edged into the lead on Saturday (17 June), ended up settling for second along with Japanese prospect Hideki Matsuyama, who came out of nowhere to soar up the leaderboard and finish on 12-under par, capping his stint in Wisconsin with a stunning round of 66.

Southport-born Tommy Fleetwood could not build on his 11-under par score from Saturday but still managed to secure fourth spot as he announced himself as an upcoming force within the golfing world. The Evertonian had trouble coping with the conditions during the embryonic stages of his round but managed to steady himself towards the tail end of his round to finish even for the day.

Rickie Fowler made tournament history by hitting a round of 65, the joint-lowest ever recorded on a US Open Thursday, but the 28-year-old could not keep pace with his fellow Americans at the top of the leaderboard and gradually faded out of contention.

The world number nine finished joint-fifth along with Xander Schaufele and Bill Haas on 10-under par, while Justin Thomas, who shocked onlookers at Erin Hills with a round of 63 on Saturday, delivered a disappointing round of 75 to finish ninth along with Brandt Sneaker and Trey Mullinax.

Also read: Danny Willett forced to withdraw from US Open due to ongoing back injury

Source: ibtimes.co.uk

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