Photo Courtesy: USA Today

Brooks Koepka Narrowly Defends U.S. Open Title

June 18, 2018 - 7:32 am

By Joe Schiller

Shinnecock Hills was kind to no one during the 2018 U.S. Open. The thick rough and grueling pin placements threw off the game’s best and no golfer finished with a final score under par throughout four rounds.

Despite a historic round of 63 from Tommy Fleetwood on Sunday afternoon, Brooks Koepka defended his title and became the first golfer to win back-to-back U.S. Open championships for the first time since 1989. A final round score of 70 propelled the American into the winner's circle.

Koepka entered the day tied for first at 3-over par with Dustin Johnson, Tony Finau, and Daniel Berger and it was a game of survival he managed to win. He saved par multiple times throughout the round, fighting off a scorching Fleetwood earlier in the day.

Holding a two-shot leading entering the 18th hole, all Koepka needed to do was bogey at worst to just about secure the win. His signature moment came on a second shot that bounced off the grandstands in miracle fashion. Any wrong bounce could have sent the ball out of bounds.

But a bogey put and a blowup by Finau on the final hole secured Koepka’s title. Cue the Drake music because this man just went back-to-back.

To say the conditions at Shinnecock were rough is an understatement. Heavy favorites like Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth missed the cut and Phil Mickelson imploded in an uncharacteristic meltdown that cost him a two-stroke penalty in the process. The worst score was a 27-over par performance by Englishman Scott Gregory that included a 92 in the first round.

The USGA even apologized for unfair conditions during the third round after a number of players made their complaints known.

However, Koepka won’t be complaining as he takes home $2.16 million in prize money and a trophy to go along with it.