8am Round-Up: Brooks Koepka wins US Open by four shots

Brooks Koepka holds a loft the US Open Trophy after his victory at Erin Hills in Wisconsin. Picture: Getty Images
Brooks Koepka holds a loft the US Open Trophy after his victory at Erin Hills in Wisconsin. Picture: Getty Images
Share this article
0
Have your say

Brooks Koepka is the new US Open champion - just under four years after the American had been tipped for stardom when winning the Scottish Challenge in Aviemore.

On a testing final day at Erin Wills in Wisconsin, the 27-year-old carded a closing 67 to finish 16-under-par, matching the tournament scoring record set by Rory McIlroy at Congressional in 2011.

Koepka began the day a shot off the lead but fired six birdies to finish four strokes ahead of overnight leader Brian Harman and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama.

England’s Tommy Fleetwood was a shot further back in fourth, with former Scottish Open champion Rickie Fowler sharing fifth spot.

Koepka is the seventh first-time major winner in succession, a run stretching back to Jason Day’s victory in the 2015 US PGA Championship.

“It feels amazing to get my name on this trophy with so many other great names,” said the new champion.

“It’s truly an honour. It’s probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced and to do it on Father’s Day is pretty neat. I didn’t exactly get my dad a card, so this works.”

After missing the cut in the same event in 2012, Koepka turned to the Challenge Tour to cut his competitive teeth.

He’d already won twice on the second-tier circuit in 2013 before shooting rounds of 70-66-62-68 for a three-shot victory in the Scottish Challenge at Macdonald Spey Valley in Aviemore.

That earned him automatic promotion to the European Tour, where he then won the Turkish Airlines Challenge in Belek at the end of the following season.

“I felt like I really stayed patient all week,” added Koepka as he savoured now becoming a major champion.

“I felt like that has been the thing lately with me, why I haven’t really played that well - I’ve been trying to win so badly. I felt like I’ve underachieved.”

Former Scottish Stroke-Play champion Fleetwood climbed to a career-high 21st in the world rankings after his best effort so far in a major.

‘’I’ve never contended for a major before, so when you get to Saturday and Sunday you’ve got to see how you react and how you feel,’’ said the Southport man.

‘’I enjoyed playing late on Saturday and Sunday and then next time, whenever that comes, I know that inside myself I feel fine and I can contend for the victory.’’

Martin Laird, the sole Scot to survive the cut in the season’s second major, finished in a tie for 32rd on level-par after he closed with a 73.

***

Brooke Henderson held off some big names to capture her fourth LPGA Tour title with victory in the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give in Michigan.

Henderson closed with a flawless three-under-par 66 on a shortened course for a 21-under-par total, winning by two shots from Michelle Wie and Lexi Thompson.

“There are so many great names up there, so to finish on top is really exciting,” said the 19-year-old as she savoured her first success in 2017.

***

Jack Doherty leapt into contention in this season’s Road to Oman after recording his best performance on the Challenge Tour, where three Scots are now sitting inside the top 30 in the battle for 15 European Tour cards.

Doherty was on course for a maiden victory on the second-tier circuit in the Hauts de France Golf Open at Aa Saint Omer when he covered the opening 11 holes in the final round in three-under to sit at the top of the leaderboard on nine-under.

That he was eventually pipped by home player Julien Guerrier after dropping shots at the 12th, 13th and 18th would have been disappointing for the tall Ayrshireman but, nonetheless, it was an encouraging performance.

For finishing joint-second with Portugal’s Ricardo Santos and Italian Lorenzo Gagli, he picked up just over £14,000, jumping 80 spots to 23rd in the Road to Oman. Craig Lee sits 18th with Grant Forrest 27th.

***

Craig Watson, the 1997 winner at the same venue, is among 19 Scots trying to qualify for the match-plal phase in this week’s Amateur Championship at Royal St George’s in Kent.

“The R&A extended my exemption to 20 years this year,” said the East Renfrewshire man,

who upset the odds to beat rising South African star Trevor Immelman to claim the coveted title.

“As I’m going down to watch anyway in my role as Walker Cup captain, I might as well play for two rounds before watching some proper golf from Wednesday onwards.

“It is nice to go back, though whether or not I’m thinking that on the Monday or Tuesday morning might be debatable.”

Glencruitten left-hander Robert MacIntyre, last year’s beaten finalist at Royal Porthcawl, is also in the field.

So, too, are Scottish Stroke-Play champion Liam Johnson and Rory Franssen, who played for Europe in the Arnold Palmer Cup in Atlanta last weekend.

***

Lanarkshire won a closely-contested Scottish Boys Area Team Championship at Stranraer where the top four teams were covered by just two shots.

On 366, Lanarkshire pipped Dumbartonshire by one, with Fife and Renfrewshire both on 368.