When the moment called for it, Brooks Koepka turned on the afterburners.
It started with a key par save on the par-3 13th at Erin Hills as Koepka and Brian Harman remained deadlocked in a duel for the U.S. Open title. From there, Koepka broke away with birdies at Nos. 14, 15, 16 to put away his first major championship in style.
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Koepka hit 88 percent of his fairways — driving the ball 322 yards on average — and hit 86 percent of his greens during the week, needing just a few brave moments with his putter. Koepka missed only 10 greens in regulation the entire week.
Koepka is the seventh consecutive first-time major champion, dating back to Jason Day’s victory in the 2015 PGA Championship.
Many players had a chance to win at the start of the day, but each succumbed to the major pressure. Justin Thomas, who shot 63 Saturday, quickly melted with a 3-over 39 on his opening nine and fell to a tie for ninth at 8 under. Harman hung tough for most of the day but faltered with untimely bogeys on Nos. 12 and 13 while Koepka made his move in the group ahead.
Many fancied Rickie Fowler’s chances to win his first major championship, but the first-round leader ultimately couldn’t muster a comeback, shooting even par Sunday and finishing T5. England’s Tommy Fleetwood was also in the hunt, but three front-nine bogeys halted his momentum, and he finished fourth.
The best Sunday round came from Hideki Matsuyama. The Japanese star made eight birdies in a round of 6-under 66, finishing in a tie for second with Harman, four strokes behind Koepka. Matsuyama was projected to move to No. 2 in the world as a result of his finish.