With second US Open title, Koepka can't be overlooked now

Zach Johnson on U.S. Open Saturday'They've lost the golf course
		Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Johnson on U.S. Open Saturday'They've lost the golf course Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The 118th US Open will be remembered for a tumultuous Saturday when conditions and testing pin placements turned the historic Shinnecock Hills layout into a brutally punishing test and led to severe criticism of organizer the USGA. He has every excuse in the book - and he's still part of a four-way lead, along with Berger, Finau and defending Open champion Brooks Koepka. "But I couldn't be happier with the way I played".

Fleetwood, whose fourth place behind Koepka at Erin Hills a year ago is his best major finish to date, said: "I never thought I was out of it, I just needed a good start". At that time, I just didn't feel like going back and forth and hitting the same shot over.

Reed fired five birdies in his first seven holes but cooled off coming in for a two-under 68. "He's able to dismiss whatever has happened before nearly instantly", he added. It might have to for Koepka to get the recognition he deserves, even if that's not what drives him.

Lots will be written and said about Koepka, 28, when the U.S. Open heads to Pebble Beach in 2019 and he tries to match Willie Anderson (1903-05) as the only golfer to win three in a row. Many pros voiced their own opinions, and the United States Golf Association offered an apology for the unfairness of the golf course after the third round of play. The circus of going from a 16-under victor at Erin Hills to a one-over victor at Shinnecock Hills the next year makes the tournament a complete toss-up annually, which thoroughly entertains me.

Golf analysts and competitors criticized the playing conditions in this year's tournament, and even the USGA apologized for some of the course conditions in the third round. "Once it gets to next week this week is gone, but The Open is a week I will be really looking forward to".

Curtis Strange, the last player to go back-to-back in this major, watched the entire final round Sunday as the Fox Sports reporter on the ground, and they shared a brief hug off the 18th green after Koepka tapped in for bogey and a one-shot victory. Johnson was one shot behind at the turn until a trio of three-putt bogeys on the back nine.

"I don't want to say I didn't think I could do it, but I knew that it was going to be that much more hard", Koepka said of winning a second major.

"It's much more gratifying the second time", said Koepka, who had battled a partially torn wrist tendon that sidelined him almost four months since his major breakthrough past year. "When I get back home, he'll be the first one I call to go hang out".

Only one of them did, which is why Koepka is the US Open champion. Last year, playing with him in the final round, it was pretty impressive.

"He was busy grinding his tail off and I was busy grinding mine".

"Overall though I'm very happy".

"I think they did a good job with set up today". Fleetwood's round placed him in esteemed company; no player has shot 62 in the US Open.

"I've known him for maybe five years now and he's an incredible player".

Brooks Koepka did nothing but sit around for about three months after partially tearing a tendon in his left wrist, a risky injury for a golfer where the repeated impact of taking divots could cause a chronic injury that never quite fully heals.

Scott Piercy, Charley Hoffman, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Justin Thomas, Jason Dufner and Phil Mickelson were among others who played the weekend at Shinnecock Hills.

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