Koepka wins 2nd straight US Open

Source:AFP Published: 2018/6/18 21:28:39

7th to successfully defend title

Brooks Koepka of the US plays his second shot on the 16th hole during the final round of the 2018 US Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club on Sunday in Southampton, New York. Photo: VCG

Brooks Koepka became the first player in three decades to repeat as US Open champion on Sunday, firing a gritty ­final-round 68 at Shinnecock Hills to beat Tommy Fleetwood by one stroke.

A year after he marched to victory with a 16-under total at Erin Hills, Koepka kept his nerve on the back nine to emerge with a one-over-par total of 281. "To go back to back, I really can't even put it into words," said Koepka, who was flirting with the cut line when he was ­seven over par during the second round on Friday.

The world No.9 is the seventh player to win back-to-back US Open crowns, and the first since Curtis Strange in 1988-89.

England's 12th-ranked Fleetwood seized the opportunity to match the ­lowest round ever in the US Open with a brilliant seven-under 63 for a two-over total of 282.

Fleetwood had stormed into the clubhouse with a round that included eight birdies, putting the pressure on overnight leaders Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Daniel Berger and Tony Finau.

Only Koepka met the challenge. He had broken out of the pack with three birdies in the first five holes.

Playing in freshening wind and knowing that Fleetwood was in the clubhouse on two-over, Koepka produced a string of clutch putts on the back nine.

A six-foot (1.8-meter) birdie at the 10th gave him a two-stroke lead. A tough 12-footer limited the damage at 11 to what he called "a great bogey" after he hit over the green into deep rough and from there into a bunker.

He got up and down for par at the 12th, and escaped with a par from deep rough at 14 before giving himself some breathing room with a birdie at the par-five 16th - where he stuck his third shot less than four feet from the pin.

World No.1 Johnson, playing alongside Koepka in the penultimate group, saw the sure putting touch that had propelled him to a four-shot halfway lead desert him.

He birdied the 72nd for an even-par 70 that left him alone in third on 283.

Finau, playing in the final group with Berger, closed with a double bogey at the 72nd hole for a 72 that left him fifth on 285 - one stroke behind Masters champion Patrick Reed. Reed fired five birdies in the first seven holes but cooled off coming in for a two-under 68.

Berger faded early, his 73 leaving him tied for sixth at six-over with England's Tyrrell Hatton, American Xander Schauffele and Sweden's Henrik Stenson.

Posted in: GOLF

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