Bummer buddies: Roomies Fowler, Thomas fizzle at US Open

Lynette Rowe
June 19, 2017

But when the flying fescue had settled and the world's best golfers had finished surgically dissecting Erin Hills, all that remained was one first-time victor, two historic scoring records and a whole bunch of golfers under par.

Get daily prep sports headlines from the Gwinnett Daily Post staff delivered to your email. But at the same time, I don't feel as though I lost a golf tournament.

Brooks Koepka shot a 5-under 67 to finish at 16-under 272 and match Rory McIlroy's tournament record for most shots under par.

Xander Schauffele, a rookie on the PGA Tour playing in his first U.S. Open, birdied his last hole for a 69 to tie for fifth at 10-under 268 along with Bill Haas (69) and Rickie Fowler (72), who was poised at yet another major to win only to fall back.

The turning point came when Koepka bagged three consecutive birdies, starting with the par-five 14th while Harman carded back-to-back bogeys on the hard 12th and 13th holes.

Koepka, whose caddie Ricky Elliott is from Portrush in Northern Ireland, becomes the seventh first-time major victor in succession, a run stretching back to Jason Day's victory in the 2015 US PGA Championship.

"Dustin actually called me last night and told me the same thing, just stay patient".

"To be honest with you, it really was the putt, the par save on 13", Koepka said.

Koepka finished the tournament at 16 under, four shots clear of Hideki Matsuyama and Brian Harman. Tommy Fleetwood, Patrick Reed, and Si Woo Kim only managed even-par or worse.

World No.13 Justin Thomas dropped to eight-under with a 75 a day after setting the record for lowest round relative to par in US Open history with a nine-under 63.

Yet the biggest prizes continue to elude the popular 28-year-old, who now boasts six top-five finishes in majors without a title to show for his efforts.

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The 356 yard par-four 15th was the not only the toughest hole of Sunday's final round but proved key swing in the trophy chase.

"I felt like I was playing really good". "I would have had to play some pretty spectacular golf to catch him".

Koepka's birdie run from 14-16 was the culmination of a dominant stretch on the back nine all week.

The 27-year-old struggled to believe his triumph, saying: "What I've done this week is incredible".

But the turning point in a gripping war of nerves came just after the turn when Harman struggled through back-to-back bogeys on the 12th and 13th.

It was only fitting that Koepka left Erin Hills with yet another record matched or broken.

"It was kind of bombs away", he said. "Couple of these par 5s, I don't even need to hit driver and I can still get there".

Koepka takes home $2.16 million, the largest single-day earnings in golf. And Koepka, ranked No. 22 in the world, took a bit of an unusual route to the winner's circle on Sunday.

Brooks Koepka holds up the U.S. Open Championship trophy after the final round of the 2017 U.S. Open Championship at Erin Hills.

After starring at Florida State, where he was a three-time All-American, Koepka began his professional career on the Challenge Tour in Europe in 2012, and then on the European Tour.

His sister, Callie, served as his caddie at Erin Hills. "This was just such a solid performance to win a Championship that will change his life", Nicklaus wrote.

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