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Brooks Koepka wins US Open, 1st repeat winner in 29 years

NEWS
News
107   //    18 Jun 2018, 05:43 IST
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SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (AP) — Brooks Koepka has the game to win a U.S. Open on any course.

One year after Koepka overpowered the wide fairways of Erin Hills in a U.S. Open remembered for low scoring, he navigated his way through the brutal conditions of Shinnecock Hills and closed with a 2-under 68 to become the first repeat champion in 29 years.

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.

Koepka captured his second major Sunday. It would not have been possible without his 72 on Saturday in conditions so severe the last 45 players to tee off in the third round didn't break par. The USGA conceded the course was over the top and pledged to get it right for the final round.

No one took advantage like Tommy Fleetwood, who made eight birdies — none of the two par 5s — and became the sixth player to shoot 63 in the U.S. Open. That got him within one shot of Koepka, who still had 11 holes to play. Fleetwood had to settle for the silver medal.

Koepka, with a performance and a demeanor reminiscent of Retief Goosen winning at Shinnecock Hills in 2004, began the back nine with three pivotal putts — one for birdie, one for bogey, one for par.

He seized control with a wedge to 3 1/2 feet for birdie on the par-5 16th for a two-shot lead, and he never flinched until it no longer mattered. Koepka pulled his approach to the 18th off the grandstand, pitched on to about 12 feet and two-putted for a bogey.

He finished at 1-over 281, 13 shots higher than his winning score at Erin Hills last year. It was the first time since 2013 at Merion that no one broke par in the U.S. Open.

Dustin Johnson, part of the four-way tie for the lead to start the final round, had an even-par 70 to finish alone in third. Masters champion Patrick Reed, who briefly shared the lead with five birdies through seven holes, stumbled on the back and had a 68 to finish fourth.

LPGA TOUR

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — So Yeon Ryu won the Meijer LPGA Classic for her first victory of the season and sixth overall, closing with a 5-under 67 for a two-stroke margin.

The 29-year-old South Korean player birdied the par-5 16th and par-4 17th and parred the par-4 18th to finish at 21-under 267 at Blythefield Country Club. Two strokes behind Anna Nordqvist and Lee-Anne Pace entering the round, Ryu had six birdies and bogey in the final round.

Caroline Masson was second after a 68. Lydia Ko shot a 67 to finish third at 18 under.

Nordqvist and Pace each shot 73 — after each had a 64 on Saturday — to tie for fourth at 17 under with Jacqui Concolino (66), Azahara Munoz (68) and Angela Stanford (70).

U.S. Women's Open winner Ariya Jutanugarn shot a tournament-record 62. She birdied five of the first seven holes, eagled No. 8 and added three more birdies to finish 12th at 15 under.

OTHER TOURS

MEN

Stuart Manley closed with a 3-under 68 and beat Grant Forrest with a par on the third sudden-death playoff hole in the Hauts de France Open on the European Challenge Tour. Forrest also shot 68. ... George Cunningham won the GolfBC Championship for his first Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada title. The former University of Arizona player finished at 20 under with weekend round of 62 and 64. Zach Wright and P.J. Samiere tied for second, two strokes back. ... Motin Yeung became the first player from Hong Kong to win on the PGA Tour Series-China, shooting a 6-under 65 and winning the Kunming Championship with a birdie on the first playoff hole. Yeung beat Callum Tarren and Josephn Gunerman in the playoff. ... Sang-hyun Park won the KEB Hana Bank Invitational on the Korean PGA Tour, shooting a 5-under 67 for a one-shot victory. ... Clark Dennis won the Senior Italian Open for the second straight year, beating Rafael Gomez in a playoff.

WOMEN

Ji Hyun Oh closed with a 6-under 66 for an eight-shot victory in the Kia Motors Korea Women's Open Championship on the Korean LPGA Tour. ... Ai Suzuki won the Nichirei Ladies in a three-way playoff for her fourth victory this year on the Japan LPGA Tour. ... Isi Gabsa of Germany won the Forsyth Classic for her first Symertra Tour title, beating Jillian Hollis with a birdie on the fourth extra hole.

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