Brooks Koepka holds off Tommy Fleetwood charge to win back-to-back US Open titles

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Victorious again: Brooks Koepka.

Fleetwood carded a stunning final round of 63 at Shinnecock Hills, agonisingly missing from eight feet for birdie on the 18th to equal the all-time major record of 62 set by Branden Grace in last year’s Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.

The 27-year-old’s score still matched the lowest in US Open history and set a testing clubhouse target on two over par, with Koepka the only player able to beat it – by a single shot – thanks to a nerveless 68.

TWEET OF THE DAY

Koepka’s brother and fellow professional Chase may have been celebrating a bit loudly.

SHOT OF THE DAY

Protecting a one-shot lead with three holes to play, Koepka struck the vital blow with a superb approach to the par-five 16th to set up a tap-in birdie.

ROUND OF THE DAY

Koepka’s 68 was brilliant under the pressure of holding the lead, but Fleetwood came within a whisker of equalling the lowest score in major championship history and still matched the best ever in the US Open.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“It hasn’t sunk in yet, this is incredible. I don’t think I could have dreamed of this, going back-to-back.” – The size of his achievement begins to dawn on Koepka.

STATISTIC OF THE DAY

The Golf Channel’s Justin Ray puts Fleetwood’s performance in perspective.

TOUGHEST HOLE

The 18th played as the toughest hole for the first time, perhaps unsurprisingly given it is a 486-yard uphill par four. Dustin Johnson carded one of the seven birdies to finish outright third, while Koepka took one of the 18 bogeys as the hole played to an average of 4.313.

EASIEST HOLE

For the third day in succession, the fifth hole played as the easiest with an average of 4.836, offering up one eagle and 26 birdies.

ON THE UP

Fleetwood’s prospects of a first major title after he followed last year’s fourth place with a runners-up finish, coincidentally behind the man he partnered in the final round at Erin Hills 12 months earlier.

ON THE SLIDE

European hopes of breaking the American stranglehold on golf’s biggest titles, with Koepka’s win meaning they still hold all four majors and all the transatlantic team competitions.

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Carnage' on third day of US Open as organisers admit course set up went too far

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Tournament organisers admitted they went “too far” with the set up of Shinnecock Hills after a day of “carnage” in the 118th US Open.

Only three players broke par in the third round and scores of 66 early in the day were enough to lift Tony Finau and Daniel Berger from a tie for 45th to a share of the lead on three over par with defending champion Brooks Koepka and overnight leader Dustin Johnson.

England’s Justin Rose is a shot off the pace after a 73, with Henrik Stenson a shot further back and Masters champion Patrick Reed and Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk on seven over alongside Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat, whose 68 lifted him from joint last to a tie for seventh.

“We want the US Open to be tough, a complete test but there’s no doubt it was a tale of two golf courses,” USGA chief executive Mike Davis told host broadcaster Fox Sports.

“We will admit there were some aspects of the set up where we went too far, in that well-executed shots were not rewarded and in some cases penalised.”

Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello had been seven over until a triple-bogey on the 18th and wrote on Twitter:

The last time Shinnecock Hills hosted the event in 2004 play had to be suspended during the final round – in which 28 of the 66 players amazingly failed to break 80 – to water the seventh green, with only the winner Retief Goosen and runner-up Phil Mickelson finishing under par.

And similar conditions transpired 14 years later as some questionable pin positions on hard, fast greens resulted in the “carnage” which two-time major champion Zach Johnson predicted after completing a 72.

“It’s unfortunate that our nation’s tournament is already shot at a venue that they lost 14 years ago,” Johnson told Sky Sports.

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Dustin Johnson makes strides towards second US Open title

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Dustin Johnson took a massive step towards a second US Open victory in three years as Ian Poulter’s challenge imploded on an eventful second day at Shinnecock Hills.

Johnson, who is looking to become only the second player after Tiger Woods to win the title as world number one, carded a second round of 67 to set a daunting clubhouse target of four under par.

That did not look like being challenged until the wind surprisingly died in late afternoon and Poulter was among those to take advantage, three birdies in four holes from the fourth taking him to within a shot of the lead.

However, the 42-year-old then dropped four shots in his last two holes to finish five shots off the pace, leaving Charley Hoffman and Scott Piercy as Johnson’s nearest challengers on level par.

SHOT OF THE DAY

Having started on the 10th, Jimmy Walker had already recorded an eagle on the 16th before producing his second of the day on the fourth by holing out from 170 yards from a fairway bunker.

ROUND OF THE DAY
Tommy Fleetwood and Brooks Koepka both shot 66, but defending champion Koepka edges it by virtue of recovering from two early bogeys to fire six birdies in the space of 10 holes.

QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I felt stupid knifing the first shot [out of the bunker], I felt more stupid semi-chunking the next one and I didn’t do that well with the next one either.” – Ian Poulter with an honest assessment of his triple-bogey seven on the eighth.

STATISTIC OF THE DAY
“Good morning from Shinnecock Hills. 21 of the last 22 U.S. Open champions were at or within 2 shots of the lead after 36 holes.” – The Golf Channel’s Justin Ray with a stat to please the Dustin Johnson fans.

TOUGHEST HOLE
The third took over from the 14th as the toughest hole, with Russell Henley’s challenge faltering as he tangled with the fescue on his way to a seven. A total of 71 bogeys, 15 double bogeys and Henley’s triple bogey helped produce a scoring average of 4.641.

EASIEST HOLE
For the second day in succession, the fifth hole played as the easiest with an average of 4.878, offering up 46 birdies, 22 bogeys and just one double bogey or worse.

ON THE UP
Brooks Koepka’s chances of becoming the first player to successfully defend the US Open title since 1989 after a second round of 66 lifted him into a tie for fourth place.

ON THE SLIDE
The prospects of Tiger Woods winning another major after rounds of 78 and 72 proved the former world number one remains far from his prime following spinal fusion surgery last year.

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