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Brooks Koepka Repeats as the U.S. Open Champion

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. — Whilst Patrick Reed was once successful the Masters in April, Brooks Koepka sat at house in Florida nursing a left wrist damage that had saved him off the golfing route for lots of the earlier 4 months. He wouldn’t be cleared to take complete swings together with his wedges or irons till the Monday after his pals and PGA Excursion competition had departed Augusta Nationwide.

That didn’t go away a lot time for Koepka to arrange to protect his United States Open name. However his swing trainer, Claude Harmon III, knew Koepka can be fantastic when he noticed that he was once glued to the tv, looking at the tip of the Masters as an alternative of the start of the Main League Baseball season.

The viewing selection augured smartly for Koepka, “who’s by no means in point of fact been a golfing nerd,” mentioned Harmon.

“He watched the Masters,” Harmon added, “and I in point of fact consider he fell in love with golfing once more.”

Koepka, 28, who regarded as himself a pissed off baseball participant slumming in golfing for a lot of his teenagers and twenties, endeared himself to golfing nerds, together with the ones now not but born, on Sunday through turning into the 3rd skilled to win consecutive males’s nationwide championships since 1949, after Ben Hogan in 1950 and 1951 and Curtis Unusual in 1988 and 1989.

“It’s in point of fact fantastic,” Koepka mentioned. “I couldn’t be happier.”

Koepka, who started the day in a four-way tie for the lead, closed with a two-under 68 and a 72-hole ranking of one-over 281 at Shinnecock Hills. He completed one stroke forward of the Englishman Tommy Fleetwood, who tied the document for a males’s U.S. Open spherical together with his final 63. It was once the primary time since 2013 that the winner had completed over par.

When Koepka gained closing yr at Erin Hills in Wisconsin, he completed at 16 beneath, tying the U.S. Open document set through Rory McIlroy at Congressional in 2011. However Shinnecock, which hosted the Open for the 5th time, has been identified to humble the sector’s very best golfers, because the overdue a part of Saturday’s spherical demonstrated. Amid top temperatures and stiff winds, it produced hovering ratings and a large number of complaint of the setup. Koepka, on the other hand, gave the impression unperturbed.

“You’ve were given to stay going, stay plugging away and don’t get stuck up in the entire communicate and simply stay keen on what you’re doing,” he mentioned after his victory, including, “I experience being driven to the restrict. Now and again, you’re feeling like you might be about to damage mentally, however that’s what I experience.”

Dustin Johnson, who’s Koepka’s coaching spouse and shut pal, posted a 70 for sole ownership of 3rd at 3 over.

Koepka’s father was once a tumbler in faculty, and Koepka mentioned that, if now not for his struggles hitting fastballs, he almost certainly by no means would have keen on golfing. He has no drawback hitting the lengthy ball off golfing tees, however his striking was once his salvation within the ultimate spherical, specifically the seven-footer he made for birdie at No. 10 and the 15-footer he tired at No. 11 to salvage a bogey.

“The person who was once in point of fact large for us was once No. 11,” Koepka mentioned, regarding himself and his caddie, Ricky Elliott. “That was once like creating a birdie,” Koepka added, “possibly even making an eagle, it felt like, as a result of it will were a large momentum shift there.”

Koepka’s milestone second got here on the expense of Reed’s stab at historical past. Reed, who closed with a 68 to complete in fourth position, at 4 over, was once seeking to grow to be the 7th guy, and the primary since Jordan Spieth in 2015, to win the primary two legs of a calendar Grand Slam. No skilled has gained each males’s primary in the similar yr.

“I had an opportunity, I no doubt had an opportunity,” Reed mentioned. “Simply too many overlooked putts, and on the finish of the day, simply had to hit my approaches slightly nearer.”

Unusual, in his function as a Fox Sports activities analyst, walked the general spherical along Koepka and mentioned he was once rooting for him to win.

“I had a front-row seat and I believed it was once improbable,” Unusual mentioned, including: “It was once a laugh for me to observe someone play so smartly and do one thing particular as a result of such a lot of of the greats haven’t completed that.”

The match’s Father’s Day end is a candy topping at the Sunday drama, with avid gamers rhapsodizing in regards to the paternal bonds that cemented their love for the sport. Fleetwood signed for his 63, then mentioned he deliberate to play together with his Nine-month-old son, Franklin, whilst he waited to look if any of the 26 avid gamers who teed off after him may fortify on his cumulative ranking of two-over 282.

It was once Fleetwood’s first Father’s Day with a kid, and one sensed, from the best way his face brightened when he mentioned his son, that the day have been a unique one lengthy earlier than his ultimate putt dropped.

Koepka’s father, Bob, watched closing yr’s match on tv. However he made the shuttle to Shinnecock Hills.

“I advised him closing yr, ‘This was once the most efficient Father’s Day provide ever — till subsequent yr,” Bob Koepka mentioned after the general putt dropped. “And I’m going to inform him the similar factor now.”

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