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Koepka matches US Open record

Brooks Koepka
Brooks Koepka hoists the US Open trophy after dominating the back nine at Erin Hills. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

It had the hallmarks of a classic contest – until Brooks Koepka put the foot down.

The American became the seventh consecutive first-time major championship winner when he saluted in the US Open today.

But the manner in which the 27-year-old pushed clear on the back nine to win by four with an equal tournament record total suggests it won’t be his last.

Australia’s hopes were earlier quickly extinguished when Marc Leishman made four consecutive bogeys from the fourth hole and another on the ninth.

The big Victorian fought hard on the back nine and three birdies enabled him to sign for a 75, one under in total and a share of 27th.

Hideki Matsuyama hinted he’d be a factor when he made three early birdies, but was still only eight under when he went to the 11th tee.

The rising Japanese superstar then poured in five back-nine birdies to send a scare into what had been shaping as a match play shootout between Koepka and Brian Harman with other overnight contenders flailing.

But, as Matsuyama’s closing birdie pulled him within one of the lead at -12, Koepka found overdrive.

A huge par saver on the 13th was immediately followed by exemplary birdie putts on the 14th, 15th and 16th to ultimately reach 16 under – the same final score as Rory McIlroy famously won with and shattered all US Open scoring records in 2011.

Harman hadn’t made a bogey all week on the back nine, but he made three with the noose of pressure tightening and his closing six on the long 18th dropped him back to a share of second with Matsuyama.

Koepka later attributed a phone call from good mate and world No.1 Dustin Johnson on Saturday night (US time) for keeping his cool when it mattered.

“Dustin actually called me last night and (said), `Just stay patient, just keep doing what you're doing, you're going to win the thing and just don't get ahead of yourself’,” Koepka said.

“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. And the more patient that I can become, the more times I'll put myself in this situation.”

Koepka, though, said he had no intention of continuing to “underachieve”, setting himself some lofty goals.

“They're pretty high. We started out this year and I figured … I thought I needed to win multiple times and a major.

“I thought the way my game set up I think I can win multiple times a year, I really do. And I think this is hopefully major number one and there's many more to come.”



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