U.S. Open. Defending Champion is Champion Again.

White Dragon GolfU.S. Open

Defending U.S. Open Champion Brooks Koepka is Champion again at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in New York.

Koepka goes back-to-back at U.S. Open

 

Double Champion Brooks Koepka /  getty

Brooks carded  final round -2 under par 68 to win back to back U.S. Open titles with a +1 over par final total for the 72 holes;

“Man, it feels good to hold this thing again.”

“I enjoy the test, I enjoy being pushed to the limit. Sometimes you feel like you are about to break mentally, but that’s what I enjoy.”

“I enjoy hard golf courses. I enjoy playing about the toughest in golf you are ever going to play.”

Tommy Fleetwood, England, was second, with a fabulous last round -7 under par 63, that could have been better, he finished at +2 over par for the competition.Tommy had a great day with the putter and had a chance to record 62, which would have been  the lowest last round at a U.S. Open;

“I actually hit the putt I wanted to, but it was so steep, that green, it was a bit slower than what I thought. I really wanted that 62.”

“I honestly never really thought I was out of it. I just needed a good start, as you never know what’s going to happen.

“Obviously, we knew they would have made it a bit softer today and, looking at the pins, you knew they were going to be more accessible. I knew I was kind of in it teeing off, but you still have to get off to that good start so four under through seven, it was game on.

“I made great putts coming down that back nine, so it’s easy to just look at 16, 18, where I had chances, because that is essentially what it comes down to. But I made so many good putts today. and, to sit here with a chance, I’ll take it.”

Third place went to World #1 Dustin Johnson, who never really got going today, signing for a last round of even par 70 and +3 over par total.

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U.S. Open. Dustin Cards +7 Third Round.

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World #1 Dustin Johnson cards a third round +7 over par 77, but is still tied for the U.S. Open lead with Tony Finau, Daniel Berger, and defending Champion Brooks Koepka.

U.S. Open

Dustin Johnson / getty

In a dramatic third round saw two different sets of conditions at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club with the wind, very firm, fast greens and bordering on the ridiculous pin positions took over the afternoon wave of players. Daniel and Tony were in the early wave in the calmer conditions, both shot -4 under par 66, but were still seven shots off the lead. D.J. +7 and Brooks, +2 just had to hang tough and ride it out, with all four players tied at the top of the leaderboard at +3 over par.

Mike Davis, the chief executive of the USGA had this to say of the days events;

“You were seeing shots that were well played and not rewarded.”

“It was a very tough test, but probably too tough this afternoon.”

Dustin echoed those thoughts;

“I’m in a good position in the lead tomorrow.”

 “Today’s round, I didn’t feel like I played badly at all. Seven over usually is a terrible score but with the greens the way they got this afternoon, they were very, very difficult.”

Defending Champion Brooks is in a confident mood;

“There’s nobody more confident, I won this thing last year. I feel really good. My game’s in a good spot. I feel like you got to kind of take it from me, to be honest with you.”

“I mean, my track record is pretty good in U.S. Opens. I feel like the harder the golf course, the better. It’s already going to eliminate so many guys. 

Daniel is trying to ignore the pressure;

“This is why I practice and play because I want to be in this position to have a chance to win golf tournaments.”

 “It hasn’t necessarily gone my way this year but I’ve done a lot of the right things and it’s more about just letting it happen and not putting too much pressure on myself.”

Justin Rose, England, is in fifth place at +4  over par, he also slipped today, signing for a +3 over 73.

In a strange occurrence today Phil Mickelson pushed a putt passed the hole, then ran after it and hit back towards the hole, while it was still moving. That cost him a two-stroke penalty, and a ten on the hole. He finished the day with +11 over par round and +17 for his 54 holes.

The way this course is playing anyone within ten shots of the lead could win.

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U.S. Open. DJ In Complete Control.

White Dragon GolfU.S. Open

DJ world #1 Dustin Johnson is in complete  control of the U.S. Open after 36 holes  at  Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in New York.

DJ cruising at U.S. Open

DJ / getty

DJ shot -3 under par 67 to lead the U.S. Open by four shots with a -4 under total on day 2, making it look reasonably easy, while everyone else struggled in the wet conditions;

“We kind of played in it from fifteen to about number three, and then it kind of let up a little bit for us, and then we got to finish in some nice weather.”

“I like where par is a good score on every hole no matter what club you got in your hand, what hole it is.”

“Around here, the fairways are fairly generous, but with cross winds on every hole, they’re still tough to hit.”

“Even though you’re in the middle of the fairway, a lot of times with a wedge you’ve still got to hit a good shot just to give yourself a 15- or 20-footer.”

Tied in second place at even par for the tournament are Scott Piercy, +1 over par 71 today and Charley Hoffman, -1 under 69, both players from the USA

Ian Poulter looked like he was going to make it a true contest, he got to -3 under before falling over on his last two holes, recording a triple bogey and a bogey to finish in a five way tie for fourth spot at +1 over for the tournament.

Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Jordan Spieth all missed the cut which was made at +8 over par.

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U.S. Open. 4 Way Tie at the Top.

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There is a 4 way tie at the top of the U.S. Open leaderboard with, World #1 Dustin Johnson, Scott Piercy and Russell Henley, all from the USA, sharing the honor with  Ian Poulter from England, at a windy Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in New York.

Johnson was one of four players to finish Thursday's opening round under par at Shinnecock Hills. (Charlie Kane/PGA TOUR)

World #1 Dustin Johnson / getty

DJ, Scott, Russell and Ian all posted first rounds of -1 under par 69 to top the U.S. Open leaderboard by one shot.

DJ. was happy with his round, and coming off a win last week is full of confidence, even if no one has ever won a PGA Tour event and gone on the win the U.S. Open the next week;

“I’m very pleased with the round. Anything under par on this golf course is very good, especially in the conditions we have today.”

“I felt like from start to finish, it was very difficult.”

“You had to focus on every single shot you hit, putts, everything. You know, it was just difficult all day.”

“Obviously, coming off a win, you’ve got a lot of confidence. I feel like I’ve been playing really solid all year, just haven’t really been getting a lot out of my rounds.”

Jason Dufner has fifth place to himself at even par, after his opening effort of 70.

Poults likened the US Open with a trip to the dentist;

“Through most of the U.S. Opens, I haven’t enjoyed very many, to be honest.”

“They’re difficult. They’re hot. They’re stressful. Feels like you’re pulling teeth every single hole you play.”

“This week, I’ve changed my mindset. I’m here to enjoy my golf this week, to play freely, to go out and just go play golf. If I hit it in the rough, I hit it in the rough.”

“I’m going to try and make par the hard way and just don’t get too bogged down with it.”

You can not win a Major in the first round, but you can certainly lose it; Rory McIlroy, +10 over par today, Jason Day +9, Jordan Spieth, and Tiger Woods +8, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson +7, have a battle on their hands, will be interesting to see if any of these guys can get up and make the cut.

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U.S. Open. Brooks Koepka Wins.

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Brooks Koepka wins the U.S. Open at Erin Hills Golf Course, his first Major trophy

Brooks Koepka pulled away from a crowded leaderboard with three straight birdies on the back nine Sunday at Erin Hills. (Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Brooks and his Major Trophy / getty

Brooks made birdie on  14, 15, and 16, in a final round of -5 under par 67, to win the U.S. Open with a -16 under par total, and a four shot winning margin;

Brooks started his late run by one-putting four consecutive holes to take a grip on the U.S. Open trophy. It started with a nine foot par save Putt at the par three 13th;

“The par save on 13, that built some confidence, that was kind of the changing point of the round for me.”

“I played really solid from the moment we got here on Monday and all the way through until today.”

 “The ball-striking was pretty solid, it had to be today, especially with the wind.”

“This golf course, you had to put the ball in the fairway and if you didn’t you really got penalized, just plain and simple.”

“What I’ve done this week is amazing,”

Hideki Matsuyama, Japan, -6 under 66 today, and Brian Harman, USA,  with a last round of even par 72 tied for second place, at -12 under par.

Brian mentioned the three consecutive birdies;

“He birdied 14, 15, 16, and that was kind of lights out.”

“He went and won the golf tournament on the back nine.”

“I just wish I would have been able to put a little more pressure on the course. I didn’t drive it as well as I would’ve liked.”

“I had an opportunity today and I didn’t get it done.”

Hideki said he needs more than two good rounds;

“I learned that I have to put four good rounds together.”

 “I played two good rounds, but it wasn’t enough.”

Tommy Fleetwood, England, finished on his own in fourth place at -11 under par, with a sad last round of even par 72;

“Obviously, Brooks dealt with it amazingly.”

“He’s proven for a long time how good he is. Now he’s done it in a major.”

P.S. Don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but apart from having similar names, Brooks and Brooke Henderson, from Canada, who won the Meijer LPG Classic today, both wore the same color shirt.

Meijer LPGA Classic

Brooke & Trophy

 

U.S. Open. Brian Harman Has 54 Hole Lead.

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Brian Harman has the 54 hole lead at the U.S. Open at Erin Hills Golf Course.

U.S. Open

Brian Harman / getty

Brian shot a third round -5 under par 67 to top the U.S. Open leaderboard at -12 under par, and will take a one shot lead into the final round tomorrow.

Brian would not reveal his innermost motivation;

“I’m not going to delve into the things that I derive my motivations from, but I’m certainly motivated.”

“I think everyone has doubts, everyone has fears, for me, just trying to figure out what they are and kind of rationalize them and deal with them.”

Tied in second place at -11 under par are, Justin Thomas, who signed for a U.S. Open record breaking -9 under par 63, finishing with an Eagle at the par five 18th. He shares second place with Tommy Fleetwood, from England, -4 under 68 today, and Brooks Koepka, also -4 under 68.

Justin was impressed with his Eagle at the last;

“The finish was awesome. I’d love to have another one of those.”

“I was in a great zone out there, I was hitting it well, I was putting it well, I had some great up-and-downs.”

“Everything has been flowing. I’m sure once I sit down and relax tonight it will maybe set in a little bit more.”

“I’m just so excited to give myself a great chance to win this golf tournament.”

On a more sobering thought, of the five other players who shot a 63 in the third round at a Major, none of them went on to win the tournament.

Tommy made a bogey at the last to slip from a share of the lead, but was happy to play well;

“I hit good iron shots early on, I hit good drives and the further I got into the round I just felt really comfortable.”

“I actually felt calmer today than I did yesterday.”

“It is going to be new again now, I’m on a Sunday now. I always say it’s just you and the golf course but tomorrow is going to be a very different experience.”

“I’m on a Sunday now. I always say it’s just you and the course, but tomorrow is going to be a very different experience.”

Rickie Fowler holds fifth place on his own at -10 under par, he kept in touch with a -4 under par 68 today.

Truth is just about anybody could win this tournament, the course set up tomorrow will be the hardest, and mistakes can be very costly, just ask Paul Casey, +3 over 75 today.

U.S. Open. 4 Way Tie at the Top.

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Thee is a 4 way tie at the top of the U.S. Open leaderboard after 36 holes at Erin Hills Golf Course. Paul Casey and Tommy Fleetwood of England, share the honor with Brooks Koepka and Brian Harman, U.S.A. all at -7 under par.

U.S. Open

Paul Casey / getty

Paul managed to card an eight at the par five 14th hole on his way to signing for a -1 under par 71 in the second round of the U.S. Open;

“Not every day you enjoy a round of golf with an 8 on the card, but I’m a pretty happy man.”

“Yeah, it was a bit of a roller coaster. I guess it’s rare you get through a U.S. Open or any major without some kind of a hiccup.”

“I was upset with the score I had made, but it had, in no way, any effect on my attitude or how I was going to then approach the rest of the round or the next shot.”

“Part of that is just age, and part I’ll give credit to Johnny McLaren, credit to my wife and my little boy.”

Brooks, -2 under 70 today, said he had stayed calm;

“I’d say I was calm. I mean it doesn’t really get me too worked up, whatever happens, bogey, double, birdie, eagle, I mean I’m pretty chill anyway.”

Tommy has put his resurgence down to good coaching, and his best mate;

“I went back to my old coach and had one of my best mates caddieing, and I think that can’t be underestimated having your friend with you.”

“Tomorrow will be a very cool experience. It’s still Saturday, 36 holes is a very long time in a U.S. Open. Anything can happen.”

“No matter what that’s something when you’re always going to walk up the 18th green with your best mate.”

Brian is happy to be where he’s at;

“I have no expectations. I have no idea how the weekend is going to go, no one does.”

“For me, if I can just stay where I am, just keep doing what I’m doing, I’ll have a chance.”

Three players are tied in fifth place , one shot back at -6 under. First round leader Rickie Fowler  went into reverse today, with  second round +1 over par 73, he shares with J.B. Holmes, -3 under 69 today, and Jamie Lovemark also -3 under today.

Rickie told reporters he was in a good spot;

“We’re in a good spot, looking forward to the next two days.”

Missing the cut, the top three in the world, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day.

U.S. Open

Rory & Jason getty

They were joined in the exit lounge by Daniel Berger, Masters champions Bubba Watson, Adam Scott, and 2016 Major winners Jimmy Walker and Henrik Stenson.

Other names on the missing in action list are; Billy Horschel, Jason Dufner, and Jon Rahm, the Spaniard totally exploded with a F word assault on the ears of TV viewers and course spectators;

“I’ve always been criticized for it, I don’t know what to say. I feel bad when I react sometimes, but it’s something I can’t control.”