Monday, June 18

Brooks Koepka Embraces Hardship to Win Second Consecutive U.S. Open



BROOKS KOEPKA LIKES HARD GOLF COURSES. They don't get much harder than Shinnecock Hills in the 118th U.S. Open. That suited Koepka but few others. Now he is one of only seven repeat champions in the long history of the national open.

Koepka fired a closing 68 to finish at 1-over 281 and edge Englishman Tommy Fleetwood (2 over), who shot a record-tying 63 in the final round. The 28-year-old Florida native opened with a 75, followed with a 66 and carded a 72 on Saturday when historic Shinnecock Hills turned into a beast and produced average scores above 75.

Bring it on, said Koepka.

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

Nothing bothers Koepka, his caddie said. That's the perfect attitude for the toughest test in golf.

Curtis Strange, the last man to win back-to-back U.S. Opens, marvels at the new athletic breed of tour pro and Koepka in particular.

"[Koepka] is a good striker of the ball and he’s strong and he has a good short game,” he said. "He'd beat me like a yard dog."

Koepka joins Willie Anderson, Bobby Jones, Ralph Guldahl, Ben Hogan and Strange in the elite club of repeating champions. Only Anderson has won three in a row. Koepka will have a go at that mark next June at Pebble Beach.

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