Brooks Koepka has done something that very few men have ever been able to manage: win the US Open two years in a row. Not since Curtis Strange, yes he actually played golf at one point, 29 years ago has anyone been able to defend the crown. But Koepka, one of the most athletic golfers in the world, an absolutely ripped beast-like man, has done it. And he couldn’t have possibly managed to do it in more opposite ways.
Last year at Erin Hills, Koepka dominated the field and the course, shooting a ridiculously low -16 to win by four strokes. He pounded the golf ball around that week, and he ultimately made short work of it. This year, though, things were much, much harder. In response to that, the USGA (the group that sets up the tournament and the courses) reacted harshly. They would not allow the course to be dominated like that again, and that meant that no single player would finish all four rounds combined under par.
That didn’t stop Koepka, though, as he would remain in contention despite a slow start. He shot a +5 75 in Round 1, and he was as far down as +7 on the second day of the tournament, a long, long way back. But he fought hard, and he remained in it due to the course getting impossibly difficult. He was just close enough ahead of the final day to allow him a chance, and he took that chance by shooting at -2 par 68.
There were some close moments as he was on the way to capturing the +1 win. Tommy Fleetwood nearly stole the trophy out from under his nose with a record-tying 63. The Englishman, who has continued to be a factor in majors and will eventually get one if he keeps it up, became just the sixth man in history to shoot that score in the US Open. And doing so at Shinnecock Hills is even more impressive, especially on this weekend! Ultimately, he ended up one shot off the pace.
Dustin Johnson had been in control of things for the first two rounds, but he came apart a little as the course got harder on the weekend. He still finished third, at +3, and collected over $800K, so it’s not all bad news for him. Now, he has been installed the favorite to win the British Open which will be played next month. But for now, attention has to remain on Brooks Koepka. The Florida State alum is only the seventh player to win back-to-back US Opens, and he has now showed that when he is healthy he is a real force to be reckoned with by doing so.