Koepka holds off Fleetwood to go back-to-back at Shinnecock
Brooks Koepka put in a masterful performance to hold off a final round 63 from Tommy Fleetwood to successfully defend his US Open title at Shinnecock Hills.
What happened on the final day of the US Open?
Brooks Koepka became the first player in 29 years to successfully defend the US Open as he held off a final round charge from Tommy Fleetwood to win at Shinnecock Hills.
Koepka – who won his first major championship at Erin Hills last year – started the day tied for the lead, and he got off to a brilliant start with three birdies in the opening five holes.
Patrick Reed was also making an early move, but a huge story was developing on the other side of the golf course as England’s Fleetwood went out in a three-under-par 32 to surge up the leaderboard.
Fleetwood then rattled off birdies at 12, 13, 14 and 15 and it looked as though he would post a low number and have a significant chance of holding on, especially if afternoon conditions deteriorated like it did on Saturday.
He would go on to sign for a round of 63, but it could have been so much better. He made a par at the par-5 15th, and he hit a beautiful approach into the final hole to eight-feet. Agonisingly, the resulting putt burned the right lip. It was the sixth 63 in US Open history.
Even so, Fleetwood was in the clubhouse at two-over, and when Koepka went long at the par-3 11th hole, Fleetwood became the betting favourite.
But Koepka produced a stunning bogey-save, and that theme continued for the rest of the back-nine.
At the 12th, Koepka’s approach found the greenside rough, but he produced a beautiful chip to walk away with a par. At the 14th, the American pushed his drive into the fescue, hacked it down the fairway, and somehow managed to get up-and-down from 70 yards for par.
Koepka’s birdie at the 16th hole – the par-5 that Fleetwood failed to birdie – all but sealed it.
A bogey at the 18th wouldn’t matter – he’d finish just one stroke better than Fleetwood and became the first player since Curtis Strange to win back-to-back US Opens.
It was a frustrating day for Dustin Johnson. The world No.1 had numerous chances throughout the day, but a couple of three-putts meant he would never get close to his playing partner Koepka. A birdie at the 18th hole would secure a third-place finish. Patrick Reed and Tony Finau rounded out the top five.
“It feels so good to have this back in my hands. I don’t think I could’ve dreamed of this, going back-to-back. It’s truly special.”