Koepka repeats as US Open champion

June 18, 2018 - 7:43 am

Brooks Koepka became the seventh golfer to win back-to-back US Open tournaments when he shot a two-under, 68 in the final round at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, New York. Koepka is the first back-to-back winner of the US Open since Curtis Strange in 1988 and 1989.

Koepka was able to hold off Tommy Fleetwood by one stroke and Dustin Johnson by two strokes to capture his second major.

Fleetwood tied a US Open record with a seven-under, 63 on Sunday. If not for a missed birdie putt on the 18th green, Fleetwood would have beat the record and forced a playoff with Koepka. Johnson, the No. 1 ranked golfer in the world, held a four-stroke lead after 36 holes before a disastrous seven-over third round on Saturday. \

The Saturday conditions made an already difficult course even harder, and USGA CEO Mike Davis admitted that the course was too difficult.

“We want the US Open to be tough. We want it to be a complete test. But there is no doubt, if you look at how this morning played vs. this afternoon, it was a tale of two golf courses,” Davis said. “No doubt we would admit there were some aspects of this setup that went too far…well-executed shots were not only not rewarded, but in some cases they were penalized. We don’t want that.”

Phil Mickelson shot an 81 on Saturday, his highest score ever in a major tournament. However, he was the center of some controversy when he was penalized on the 13th hole for hitting a moving ball on the green. Mickelson missed a putt to the right of the hole and the ball continued to roll until he hit it back up-hill. The 48-year-old ended up finishing with a sextuple-bogey, 10 for the hole.

“Look, I don’t mean disrespect to anybody,” he said. “I know it’s a two-shot penalty. At that time, I just didn’t feel like going back and forth and hitting the shot over. I took the two-shot penalty and moved on. It’s my understanding of the rules. I’ve had multiple times when I’ve wanted to do that. I just finally did.”

Koepka was able to weather the storm on Saturday when he shot a 72, which was one of the lower scores of the day. However, Koepka remained calm and collected himself on Sunday, hitting one clutch shot after another.

“The U.S. Open just takes so much discipline,” said Koepka. “You have got to be a great putter and just kind of let things roll off your back. I enjoy the test. I enjoy being pushed to the limit. Sometimes you feel like you are about to break mentally, but that’s what I enjoy. I enjoy hard golf courses.”

The next major golf championship is scheduled to start on July 19 with The Open championship taking place from Carnoustie Championship Course in Carnoustie, Scotland. Jordan Spieth is the defending champion at The Open, winning last year at Royal Birkdale in Southport, England.

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