Little-known American golfer Brooks Koepka won the 117th U.S. Open championship Sunday for his first major title at the age of 27. He’d only won one previous tournament on the PGA Tour.
Koepka tied for the best score in relation to par in the history of the U.S. Open with a 16-under 272 for the four rounds on the par 72 course. His margin of victory was four shots over two golfers who tied for second place — Brian Harman, also from the U.S., and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama.
“It’s definitely a special moment,” Koepka said shortly after completing his final round of 5-under-par 67. “The way I putted this week was unbelievable. . . What I’ve done this week is amazing.”
Koepka pulled away on the closing holes by making a difficult save of par on the 13th hole, then sinking birdie putts on the 14th, 15th and 16th holes.
The Florida native said he received lots of encouragement and advice from friends and family Saturday night, ahead of the final round, and that he felt very confident in his game. And he said he knew where he stood throughout the final round because there were very clear leader boards at each hole.
“I just tried to get as low as I could (on each hole) and stay focused,” Koepka said.
This year’s tournament was played at Erin Hills, an 11-year-old course less than an hour’s drive from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A U.S. Open had never been held in that north central state before.
While more players than usual broke par at a U.S. Open, many of the world’s best golfers failed to make the halfway cut after Friday’s second round. In fact, it was the first time since the world rankings were created in 1986 that the top three ranked golfers in the world missed the cut.
They are defending champion and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson of the United States, No. 2 Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and No. 3 Jason Day of Australia. It was McIlroy who also shot 16-under-par in winning his U.S. Open title at Congressional Country Club outside Washington in 2011.