American Brooks Koepka has won his second Major championship at Shinnecock Hills.
The brutally tough course caused much drama throughout the week, but in the end, it was last year’s U.S. Open champion who tamed the beast with a final tally of +1.
Koepka, who won the event at Erin Hills in 2017, was six shots off the lead after the first round in which he shot a 75. A second round 66 brought him back to +1, but five strokes back of an imperious-looking Dustin Johnson. DJ collapsed on the front nine of moving day however, with a 77 leaving him in a four-way tie for the lead at +3 after Saturday, along with Daniel Berger, Tony Finau and Koepka.
European stars Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson were just behind them heading into Sunday, but the duo were unable to challenge the leaders.
That duty fell to Masters champion Patrick Reed and England’s Tommy Fleetwood.
Reed stormed into an early lead, birdieing five of the first seven holes, but fell away over the back nine to finish fourth on +4. Fleetwood shot a record-equalling 63 earlier in the day to finish at -2, and it looked for a while that the burgeoning star had guaranteed at least a playoff.
Dustin Johnson’s putting woes continued, making four bogeys en-route to a level par round of 70 to finish third. The impressive Tony Finau outperformed playing partner Berger by one shot in the unexpected final group to earn fifth.
Koepka took advantage of the softened conditions, going out in 33, and saving a fantastic bogey on the par 3 11th hole after a calamitous tee shot.
With that potential disaster out of the way, he birdied the 16th for a two shot cushion over Fleetwood, who’s chances of winning were diminishing. And though he made a five on the last after a wild approach, it was enough to claim a second consecutive U.S. Open, a feat last achieved by Curtis Strange in 1989.
Making his feat all the more remarkable, Koepka missed much of the first four months of 2018 with an injury, playing only four tournaments since January 7th prior to this week.