How the day unfolded as Brooks Koepka successfully defended US Open title
Tommy Fleetwood’s charge up the leaderboard was in vain as Koepka sealed a one-shot victory.
Tommy Fleetwood came within inches of making history as Brooks Koepka impressively held his nerve to become the first player to win back-to-back US Open titles for 29 years.
Fleetwood carded a stunning final round of 63 at Shinnecock Hills, agonisingly missing from eight feet for birdie on the 18th to equal the all-time major record of 62 set by Branden Grace in last year’s Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.
The 27-year-old’s score still matched the lowest in US Open history and set a testing clubhouse target on two over par, with Koepka the only player able to beat it – by a single shot – thanks to a nerveless 68.
Tweet of the day
I apologize to everyone on this flight to London for my behavior when that last putt went in. Back to back baby! So proud of you BK— Chase Koepka (@ChaseKoepka) June 17, 2018
Koepka’s brother and fellow professional Chase may have been celebrating a bit loudly.
Shot of the day
Brooks Koepka's driver swings today:— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 27, 2018
323 yards pic.twitter.com/EPerIh0VR6
Protecting a one-shot lead with three holes to play, Koepka struck the vital blow with a superb approach to the par-five 16th to set up a tap-in birdie.
Round of the day
Koepka’s 68 was brilliant under the pressure of holding the lead, but Fleetwood came within a whisker of equalling the lowest score in major championship history and still matched the best ever in the US Open.
Quote of the day
“It hasn’t sunk in yet, this is incredible. I don’t think I could have dreamed of this, going back-to-back.” – The size of his achievement begins to dawn on Koepka.
Statistic of the day
45 years later to the day, Tommy Fleetwood shoots the 2nd final round of 63 in U.S. Open history (Johnny Miller at Oakmont).— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) June 17, 2018
The Golf Channel’s Justin Ray puts Fleetwood’s performance in perspective.
The 18th played as the toughest hole for the first time, perhaps unsurprisingly given it is a 486-yard uphill par four. Dustin Johnson carded one of the seven birdies to finish outright third, while Koepka took one of the 18 bogeys as the hole played to an average of 4.313.
For the third day in succession, the fifth hole played as the easiest with an average of 4.836, offering up one eagle and 26 birdies.
On the up
Fleetwood’s prospects of a first major title after he followed last year’s fourth place with a runners-up finish, coincidentally behind the man he partnered in the final round at Erin Hills 12 months earlier.
On the slide
Twice as nice. 🏆🏆 pic.twitter.com/c0tRDL6G9T— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) June 18, 2018
European hopes of breaking the American stranglehold on golf’s biggest titles, with Koepka’s win meaning they still hold all four majors and all the transatlantic team competitions.