Brooks Koepka Wins 2017 US Open to Capture 1st-Ever Major Championship

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJune 19, 2017

CORRECTS SPELLING OF LAST NAME TO KOEPKA, NOT KOPEKA - Brooks Koepka gestures after putting on the sixth hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Sunday, June 18, 2017, at Erin Hills in Erin, Wis. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Chris Carlson/Associated Press

Brooks Koepka arrived at the 2017 U.S. Open with one career victory on the PGA Tour. He left as a major champion.

Koepka shot a five-under 67 Sunday during the final round at Erin Hills in Erin, Wisconsin, to clinch the victory. He ended the tournament at 16-under par, tying Rory McIlroy's record for a U.S. Open.

Here is a look at Koepka and the rest of the leaderboard:

While Koepka won the tournament, Brian Harman held a one-stroke lead entering play Sunday over the eventual winner, Justin Thomas and Tommy Fleetwood. Rickie Fowler was also lurking at two strokes back, but Koepka continued a pattern of first-time winners with his showing:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Brooks Koepka’s win marks the 7th straight major and 10 of the last 13 U.S. Opens that have been won by 1st-time major winners.

It appeared as though Koepka and Harman were set for a memorable battle when Koepka held a one-stroke lead after the front nine. He birdied Nos. 1, 2 and 8 to seize early momentum, while Harman shot a bogey-free front nine to stay right behind.

Koepka's bogey on No. 10 evened their scores, but things unraveled for Harman when he bogeyed Nos. 12 and 13 and Koepka birdied Nos. 14, 15 and 16.

The PGA Tour shared the critical birdies down the stretch:

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Right in the ❤️ https://t.co/5VYLAupF61


U.S. Open scoring record is 16-under par. @BKoepka is -16 with two holes left. https://t.co/ayX8oUYRmb

Koepka's blazing finish sapped much of the drama from the end even though Harman tied for second.

He tied Hideki Matsuyama, who started the final round facing a six-stroke deficit. He was locked in with birdies on Nos. 1, 4 and 5 to set the tone, and he played his way into contention with birdies on Nos. 11, 12, 14 and 16.

The U.S. Open passed along some of his highlights:

U.S. Open (USGA) @usopengolf

Hideki is in the clubhouse at -12 after a 6-under 66 in the #USOpen final round. https://t.co/BeQRLX7Hn9

Matsuyama found himself two strokes off the lead going to the par-five 18th, and his birdie completed an incredible six-under 66 even though he couldn't reach the green in two. ESPN Stats & Info put his turnaround into perspective:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Hideki Matsuyama was T-82nd after 1 round. That would be 2nd worst position by U.S. Open champion ever (Steve Jones, 1996)

Nobody else threatened, as Fowler and Fleetwood failed to make significant charges with 72s.

One of the more disappointing showings belonged to Thomas, who followed his record-setting 63 in Saturday's third round with a three-over 75. His fate was sealed with bogeys on Nos. 2, 4 and 5, and he never turned things around.

Even though the top three players in the world—Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day—all missed the cut, there was still plenty of name recognition on the course behind the leaders.

Jordan Spieth played his best round of the tournament Sunday with a three-under 69. However, he was far out of contention after he moved in the wrong direction with a four-over 76 during Saturday's moving day and finished the tournament one-over par.

"It was a fantastic round of golf, given what we were dealing with to start the day," Spieth said, per Will Gray of Golf Channel. "I struck the ball the same way I have been. I think I hit 17 greens today, which was just awesome in these conditions."

Elsewhere, Masters winner Sergio Garcia couldn't parlay his first major victory into a second and never made a Sunday charge despite shooting under par in each of the first three rounds. He stayed at four-under par for the tournament with an even 72.

That cleared the way for Koepka, who sprinted to the win with his late streak of birdies.

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