Brooks Koepka joined an elite group of golfers on Sunday evening. With his win at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club on Long Island, the 28-year-old Floridian is one of seven players to repeat as U.S. Open champion.
One of the other six men stood ready to congratulate Koepka after he walked off the 18th green at Shinnecock Hills with his second U.S. Open victory. Curtis Strange, a FOX Sports reporter and the last man to win the national title back-to-back, reached out and gave Koepka a hug.
“Hell of a job,” Strange said.
If on the scene, those other repeaters—Willie Anderson, John McDermott, Bobby Jones, Ralph Guldahl and Ben Hogan—would surely echo the sentiment and probably give Koepka a firm handshake or a manly slap on the back. It’s hard to win a U.S. Open. Winning two in a row? That’s audacious.
And yet Koepka believed. He expressed confidence from the outset of the championship.
“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.”
Hosting the U.S. Open for the fifth time, Shinnecock Hills Golf Club certainly fit that description. It pushed the entire field to and over the limit, especially on a breezy Saturday afternoon when some hole locations were practically unplayable and the average score creeped closer to 80 than 70. This USGA setup was about as tough as it gets. It made sense considering what happened a year ago.
In 2017 Koepka carved up Erin Hills in Wisconsin and won his first U.S. Open with a record-tying score of 16 under, an embarrassing outcome for the championship billed as the ultimate test in golf. This year Koepka was 17 strokes higher in relation to par—and he won again. He shot 75, 66, 72 and 68 for a 1-over total of 281. Englishman Tommy Fleetwood finished second at 2 over after a brilliant 63 on Sunday that tied him for lowest round in a U.S. Open.
A keen observer since his playing career ended, Strange has seen the evolution of the tour pro and the game, including the sheer power and athleticism of this current generation. Koepka and his pal world No. 1 Dustin Johnson fit that mold.
“[Koepka] is a good striker of the ball and he’s strong and he has a good short game,” Strange said. “He’d beat me like a yard dog.”
Koepka’s stats at Shinnecock Hills make the case. He was second in driving distance (318.3 yards), fourth in greens in regulation (68 percent) and second in Strokes Gained: Putting. In fact, it was Koepka’s putting down the stretch that clinched the victory. He rolled in several crucial putts to preserve his slim lead.
The thing we now know about Brooks Koepka: He has the game and demeanor to grind out a U.S. Open win on two very different courses. That means no one should be surprised if he does it again—wherever the USGA hosts its marquee event.
Only Willie Anderson has a U.S. Open three-peat, way back at the turn of the 20th century. Koepka will get his chance next June at Pebble Beach.
Brooks Koepka’s Clubs
Brooks Koepka has a mixed set of clubs that have served him well.
“Koepka has continued to play without an equipment deal since Nike exited the hard-goods industry at the end of 2016,” reported PGATOUR.COM. “The freedom to build his own setup led Koepka to put a number of equipment brands in the bag right away, including Mizuno’s JPX 900 Tour irons, which were created with Koepka in mind when his deal with Titleist came up.”
Here’s a look at his equipment.
Driver: TaylorMade M3 460 (9.5 degrees) with Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 70TX shaft
3-Wood: TaylorMade M2 (16.5 degrees) Tour HL with Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 80TX shaft
Irons: Nike Vapor Fly Pro (3-iron) with Fujikura Pro 95 Tour Spec X shaft; Mizuno JPX-900 Tour (4-PW) with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (52-12F, 56-10S, 60-08M degrees) with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shafts
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
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