ERIN, Wis. — Brooks Koepka received a short piece of advice from a valuable source on the eve of the final round at the U.S. Open.
Defending champion Dustin Johnson was doing most of the talking.
“It was a long phone call for us — it was like two minutes,” Koepka said. “But he just said a few things, and just stay patient. And I’ll win if I stay patient and just keep doing what I’m doing.”
What he did looked awfully familiar Sunday at Erin Hills, minus any mess involving the rules.
With athleticism and power, and four straight putts over the back nine that allowed him to pull away, Koepka capped off his hardscrabble journey around the world and found stardom at home as the U.S. Open champion.
He closed with a 5-under 67, only realizing after his par on the final hole that a birdie would have set yet another U.S. Open record in a week filled with them.
Koepka finished at 16-under 272, matching the lowest score to par first set by Rory McIlroy six years ago at Congressional.
Tied for the lead with six holes to play, Koepka holed an 8-foot par putt on the 13th hole that gave him confidence with his stroke and momentum to pour in birdies on the next three holes to turn the final hour into a celebration of another young star in golf.
The 27-year-old Koepka wound up winning by four shots over Brian Harman, who was done in by back-to-back bogeys right when Koepka was making his run, and Hideki Matsuyama, who closed with a 66.
“That’s probably the most emotion I’ve ever shown coming down the stretch,” Koepka said. “It feels amazing to get my name on this trophy with so many other great names. It’s truly an honor.”
More U.S. Open coverage in Monday's Record-Courier, both in print and online!