Koepka in control and with a 1-shot lead at US Open
- Author: Julie Sanders Jun 19, 2017,
Jun 19, 2017, 6:53
But Erin Hills, hosting its first major championship, finally played like a US Open course on Sunday, with 20-25 mile per hour winds wreaking havoc on the tee box and playing like the hard links-style course that the United States Golf Association envisioned when it booked the event.
Brooks Koepka was virtually flawless on Friday, shooting 5-under-par 67 in the final round at Erin Hills while most of the field faltered in the toughest, windiest conditions of the tournament. It was only his second-ever win in the US, in part because it took Koepka years of playing around the world on lesser Tours to finally make it to the big stage of the PGA Tour.
Last seven major winners are first timers. He was only two behind when he made the turn, but bogeys on the 12th and 15th holes - and no birdies until No. 18 - ended his hopes. But if 12- or 13-under would have won, it would have hurt really bad.
With the first three rounds at the 2017 US Open finished, five players set the all-time US Open record for the most players at 10 under or better through 64 holes in the event.
Fox execs would've preferred Rickie Fowler to be closer to the top of the leaderboard on Sunday.
Thomas, who had six birdies on his outward nine on way to nine-under 63 on Saturday, found plenty of trouble on Sunday going three-over through the first nine to drop six off the lead.
What he did looked awfully familiar Sunday at Erin Hills, minus any mess involving the rules. It wasn't almost enough to catch Koepka, but it earned Matsuyama a tie for second place with Harman. It lets you be aggressive, you can get on runs where you can make birdies. Of all his birdies, that 8-foot par putt might have been as big as any. It features a silhouette of Palmer in mid-stride, tossing his visor in the air. At this year's Masters, he entered the final round trailing by one but shot a 76 and was far from the drama between Garcia and Justin Rose.
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.
With a gusty wind blowing across Erin Hills, Spieth's first shot at the par-3 13th hole landed about 5 feet from the flag.
He hit a good putt on No. 2 that got caught the left edge of the cup and spun out, and settled for bogey. And Koepka, ranked No. 22 in the world, took a bit of an unusual route to the winner's circle on Sunday. "It feels awesome to get my name on this trophy with so many other great names".
Brian Harman has a one-shot advantage at 12 under atop a crowded leaderboard.
An eagle on the final hole was a crowning glory for the young player who has emerged as a burgeoning talent.
Kite says it looks as if the conditions at Erin Hills "are going to be a lot more challenging", but he doesn't think it will look like what happened 25 years ago. If you read my post, it says I love the design.
Justin Thomas, coming off a 9-under 63 that matched the major championship scoring record and was the first 9-under round at a U.S. Open, went out in 39 and closed with a 75 to tie for ninth.
But birdies will be harder to come by on Sunday with winds gusting from 25-30 miles per hour (40-48 kph), bending flag sticks and moving balls over hardening greens. Spieth made birdies on the first two holes, both of which are playing downwind.