US Open: The two-minute phone call that propelled Brooks Koepka to victory


Koepka won the first major of his career with a 5-under 67 on Sunday to finish 16-under for the weekend, tying Rory McIlroy's record for lowest 72-hole score under par in U.S. Open history. Koepka takes home $2.16 million, the largest single-day earnings in golf.

The American became the seventh consecutive first-time major championship victor when he saluted in the US Open today. It's the first time since 1998-2000 (Lee Janzen, Payne Stewart and Tiger Woods) that Americans have won it three straight times. But at the same time, I don't feel as though I lost a golf tournament.

A five-footer at the par-5 14th after Koepka reached a greenside bunker in two on the 588-yard hole started a run of three birdies in a row that essentially clinched it.

After days of being humbled, Erin Hills turned nasty for the final round as heavy winds pummeled the links-style layout adding an intriguing wrinkle to the year's second major.

Apparently, Steve Stricker belonged in this U.S. Open field all along. He set aside the wind and the pressure to subdue Erin Hills after it finally got some teeth following three rounds of soft greens and prime scoring conditions.

Following are some snippets from the fourth round of the U.S. Open on Sunday.

"So, I think I didn't really understand the beef that it was getting for the low scores. And then the reception and all of the support I got all week long was unbelievable". Yes, he did look slightly more excited when he won his first Tour event, in Phoenix in 2015. I really grinded hard today.

Traveling the world over during his foray into professional golf on the European Tour and its developmental circuit, the former Florida State All-American visited many lands, from Kenya to Kazakhstan, from Spain to Scotland, from South Africa to Shanghai. "And the more patient that I can become, the more times I'll put myself in this situation", Koepka said.

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Koepka carried a one-stroke lead into the back nine after a birdie at No. 8, but quickly fell back into a tie with Harman.

The week ended with 31 players under par, breaking the U.S. Open record of 28 players at Medinah in 1990.

Third-round leader Brian Harman had a share of the lead well into the afternoon until making back-to-back bogeys at hole Nos. Gary Player and I were the only guys predicting over forty years ago this would happen, and everybody laughed us to scorn.

Two of the favourites heading into the final round were roomies Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler, who began the day one and two shots off the lead respectively. "To be honest, I'm not a big golf nerd", he says.

Koepka was also tied for fourth in the US Open in 2014 - albeit 10 shots behind runaway victor Martin Kaymer - and shot 71 at Erin Hills in the 2011 US Amateur, although he failed to reach the matchplay stages.

So mammoth, mysterious Erin Hills, just 11 years old and basically unfamiliar to all 156 players that came to Wisconsin for the 117th edition of the U.S. Open, wasn't going to rattle the muscular Floridian, no matter how much fescue, distance and sharp edges the course can dish out.

"Obviously the wind picked up and I felt like that played right into my hand", said Koepka, who considers himself a good ball-striker and good putter. "Exhausted of traveling. I just wanted to be home", he said. "I think it's an awesome golf course".

"I've played 25 of them, and if I play another great". He finished tied for second with Japan's Hideki Matsuyama who had the best round of the day.