Congratulations: Patrick Reed is the 2018 Masters Champion at August National

April 9, 2018

Congratulations: Patrick Reed is the 2018 Masters Champion at August National

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What Patrick Reed lacks in widespread support should now be offset by widespread respect. The scale of Reed’s achievement here, in winning his first major championship, is illustrated by who and what he had to withstand.

There were occasional, understandable wobbles but Reed ultimately held firm to prevail by a shot; 69, 66, 67, 71 and 15 under par sealed Green Jacket delivery by one from Rickie Fowler.

It seemed remarkable in context that Reed’s previous Masters record included two missed cuts, a share of 49th and a tie for 22nd. Now, an individual once kicked out of a Georgia college has been afforded the last laugh. Others scoffed when Reed proclaimed himself a top-five player. He won’t achieve that ranking position with this win but such details are unlikely to bother Reed now. He is deservedly the Masters champion.

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The identities of Reed’s biggest threats was the main fourth-round surprise. The Texan started Sunday believing he would have to see off a former Ryder Cup rival. Instead, US team-mates threw the strongest punches.

Jordan Spieth began the final day nine shots adrift of the lead. What subsequently transpired came within the realms of the finest closing round in Augusta history. Spieth briefly tied Reed’s lead; the cracking of a tree branch at the last halted the 2015 champion’s charge. Spieth’s 64 and minus 13 total proved in vain.

“All in all it was a great day,” said a magnanimous Spieth. “I was nine back, going out I knew I needed significant help no matter how well I played.”

Fowler was next to emerge from the pack, with a birdie at the last meaning Reed had no margin for error. Reed feared he had pulled a drive which found the left side of the fairway. A mid iron into two-putt range followed, as did typical celebration. Given what expectancy had come before, the denouement felt like an anticlimax; which is credit to Reed’s steeliness under the most intense of pressure. Fowler is worthy of credit for making sure he was outside the scoring hut to congratulate the champion. “I left it all out there, I made him earn it,” said Fowler.

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Rory McIlroy’s bid to complete a grand slam will have to wait for at least another 51 weeks. Just when he needed it most, McIlroy’s putter was to prove colder than a December morning in Siberia. His Sunday shortcomings can be linked only to that scenario, with confidence visibly draining from a player who was so in control of his emotions for 54 holes.

The Northern Irishman missed from 4ft for an eagle at the 2nd in what was a jarring indicator of woes to come. McIlroy didn’t recover confidence or touch on the greens thereafter; his 74 meant nine under plus a share of fifth with Henrik Stenson, Bubba Watson and Cameron Smith. The 28-year-old McIlroy cut a disconsolate figure when walking from the 72nd green. This one will sting.

Jon Rahm earned fourth at 11 under, with the Spaniard’s visible annoyance at that scenario telling in respect of competitive instinct. A major win appears close for Rahm.

Paul Casey, who started day four in the nether regions of the scoring table, briefly flirted with history. The Englishman was nine under par through 15 holes; raising the prospect of equalling the Masters record score of 63. As often transpires in these scenarios, a jab was delivered by reality. Casey bogeyed each of his last two holes for a 65 and aggregate of five under.

“That was fun, wasn’t it?” said Casey. “Birdie, birdie, eagle on Amen Corner, I’m going to remember that for a long time.

“I’m obviously disappointed. I got out of position horribly on 17 and 18 which was kind of reminiscent of how I played this week. I haven’t been very good until that streak today. But to shoot 65 today, it would have been hard to turn that down. And it was fun; I know 63 is the course record, 62 is the lowest ever in a major. So I was aware. Not particularly nervous, just kind of having a good time and obviously didn’t do it, but it was fun.”

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As this major hurtled towards its end, the fevered anticipation attached to Tiger Woods’s involvement felt like an eternity ago. Woods had set a Sunday target of returning to even par on aggregate having started at plus four. He did precisely that before an untimely bogey at the last, with a 69 most notable for a stunning Woods eagle at the 15th. In recognition of that, Woods will take home some crystal goblets as opposed to the Green Jacket, which was never really a viable target. The 42-year-old, typically, was vague on where and when he will next appear in a tournament environment.

“Generally after this tournament I put away the clubs for a while,” Woods said. “I usually take three to four weeks off – throughout my entire career – and usually the clubs are put in the closet and I just kind of get away for a while. The run-up to this event is pretty hard and pretty gruelling. I pushed myself pretty hard to get ready.

“So I’ll take a little time off, get back in the gym and start working on my body again. I’ll get it in good shape and get back at it again.

“It’s disappointing that I didn’t hit the ball well enough this week. But to be able to just be out here competing again, if you had said that last year at this particular time I would have said you’re crazy. I had a hard time just sitting or walking back then. So now to be able to play and compete and hit the ball the way I did, that’s quite a big change from last year.”

Twelve months ago, Reed didn’t even feature on Masters weekend having signed for rounds of 76 and 77. What’s the opposite of horses for courses?

Golf: The United States retains the Presidents Cup in Style

October 2, 2017

Golf: The United States retains the Presidents Cup in Style: Congrats to Captain Steve Stricker, Phil Mickelson and his colleagues

October 2, 2017 2:16am EDT October 1, 2017 7:40pm EDT The U.S. extends its streak with a 19-11 victory. Daniel Berger clinches the victory in singles competition.


The Finest US Presidents Cup Team ever assembled with  Captain Steve Stricker

The Americans continued their dominance at the  Presidents Cup in 2017 at Liberty National, capturing their seventh straight trophy with a 19-11 victory. This is the 10th time the U.S. has won the event in the 12 times it has been contested.

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Phil Mickelson of the Victorious 2017 US Presidents Cup Team

The U.S. team had world-ranked golfers with Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson, but it was Presidents Cup rookie Daniel Berger who secured the final half-point to clinch the victory for the Americans. The talented U.S. team went into the weekend with an 8-2 lead and the Internationals didn’t have enough going for them to give the Americans a challenge. From the start it was clear the U.S. was the better team, even with Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama on the International side.

MORE: Trump presents Presidents Cup to U.S. team

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President Donald Trump with Captain Steve Stricker of the  victorious 2017 US Presidents Cup Team

Over the four days of play, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler emerged as a solid team while Kevin Chappell and Charley Hoffman gave the U.S. the spark it needed to keep an uncompetitive event interesting. With many of these fearless players on the U.S. roster likely to compete in the 2018 Ryder Cup, the American team will be dominant for years to come in these team events.

24 Year Old Justin Thomas is the 2017 PGA Champion

August 14, 2017

24 Year Old Justin Thomas is the 2017 PGA Champion

Breaking free from a five-way tie for the lead early on the back-nine of a fascinating and ever-changing final round, world number-14 Justin Thomas emerged as the winner of the 99th USPGA Championship at Quail Hollow. The 24-year old American reached eight-under par with a closing 68 to claim the year’s fourth and final Grand Slam title by two shots. Three players – Patrick Reed, Francesco Molinari, Louis Oosthuizen – tied for second place.

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The clinching moment was the 15-foot putt Thomas made for a two on the short 17th – the second component in Quail Hollow’s so-called “Green Mile.” It was only the fourth birdie of the day on the 221-yard par-3 and afforded him the luxury of a bogey on the potentially treacherous closing hole. Having driven into the left-hand fairway bunker, golf’s newest major champion played safely for the five that clinched his fourth PGA Tour victory of the season and made him $1,890,000 richer.

“I felt like I had the game to get it done,” Thomas said.

That fact has hardly been in doubt for some time. Thomas was a star back to his junior days, winning three times on the prestigious AJGA and earning Junior All-American honors on the circuit twice. He then moved on to Alabama, and won the Haskins Award Presented by Stifel … as a freshman.

He left after his sophomore year and two straight team national championships, and the outside expectations were high. But Thomas never gave in to the crush of pressure. He won on the Tour in 2014 and cruised through to the PGA Tour, where he won early in his second season (at the CIMB Classic in November 2015).

But Thomas, of Goshen, Ky., really accelerated his play in 2016-17. The 24-year-old won three of five starts from October to January, the last of which was a seven-shot romp at the Sony Open that started with an opening-round 59.

“He’s pretty amazing,” said Kenny Perry, a fellow Kentuckian who has known Thomas since the young star was a teenager, in January. “He’s a superstar.”

That line was on point, if not prescient. Is he the superstar in the game? Well, no. Not yet, at least.

Thomas now has five PGA Tour wins, with four of them coming this season. That 2016-17 total beats everyone in golf. But Jordan Spieth, a good friend who hung around the 18th green to watch Thomas close out after he failed to earn the Career Grand Slam in a T-28 showing at 2 over, still has him topped by two majors and six Tour wins overall, and Rory McIlroy (T-22, 1 over) is still the leader of the current crop when it comes to majors with four. (Side note: McIlroy hasn’t won a major in three years, and his 2017 might be over.)

Heck, Brooks Koepka captured his first major at age 27 earlier this year, while PGA Championship contenders Hideki Matsuyama (who tied for fifth at 5 under) and Rickie Fowler (also T-5 after four straight birdies on the back nine briefly put him in contention) are always a threat to nab their first major.

Thomas has been firmly in place among this stunning group of young stars, but he was desperate to climb the ladder; jealous that he wasn’t winning majors like some of his quicker ascending peers.

“There’s no reason to hide it,” Thomas said. “I would say anybody, they are jealous that I won. I was jealous that Sergio won (the Masters); that Brooks won (the U.S. Open); that Jordan won (the British Open). I wanted to be doing that, and I wasn’t.”

It’s fitting, too, the manner in which Thomas earned his first major title.

The Kentucky kid is a player of hot flashes, certainly a high talent, but also a streaky one that is nearly unmatched in the ability to put together electric runs. The 59 speaks to that, as did a third-round 63 at this year’s U.S. Open. (That one also came with a closing eagle.)

But could one of these scorching bursts bring Thomas a major championship – more known for being earned through a plodding approach? Thomas proved his methods could mesh with a major title.

The streaky player entered the tournament in a lull, having missed three straight cuts before a tie for 28th at last week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational (a no-cut event). Nothing went to dispel the notion of the struggles continuing when he opened at Quail Hollow in 2-over 73.

Then, his hot flashes started to return. Six birdies arrived in a second-round 66 that moved him from a weekend of morning tee times to firmly in the hunt at five shots back.

The nonchalant twenty-something proceeded to follow up with a 69, using what he referred to as his “B or C” game, to sit two shots back entering Sunday.

If Thomas’ performance wasn’t overwhelming to that point, his mental process sure was. Thomas said he had an “unbelievable calmness” the whole week and all but predicted his ensuing victory Saturday night.

Beginning the final round two shots back of Kevin Kisner, Thomas opened the day bogey-birdie-bogey to fall three behind. Maybe his vision wasn’t to be after all.

Thomas, though, exhibits more patience than his ups and downs would imply.

“He was very smart, very grounded,” Perry said in January. “When he asked me questions as a teenager, he always wanted to know how to practice, what I think about golf shots, golf courses, how to get around a little bit on the Tour. He picked it up fast.”

So, Thomas didn’t fret. In fact, his bogey at No. 1 came after holing a 14-footer. It was the first turning point.

“The putt on No. 1 was pretty big,” Thomas said. “Starting with a double there would have been pretty terrible.” But his ability to incite electricity on the course wouldn’t emerge until hours later. Then it came with a fury the rest of the field couldn’t handle.

Thomas predicted it, too, telling caddie Jimmy Johnson in the middle of the round that “something good’s going to happen.”

He started proving himself right by burying a side-winding 36-footer for birdie at No. 9 that got him to within one. “I had a feeling I was going to make it,” Thomas said.

Just a hole later, he topped himself. A wild drive left actually bounced off a tree into the middle of the fairway, only after Thomas implored for the ball to “get lucky” and beseeched the tree to spit it out. He added on a “please” for good measure. It all worked.

The lucky break allowed Thomas to go over the green in two, and he chipped up to 8 feet. The crucial birdie putt, to move back within one of Matsuyama after the Japanese player birdied the hole, was supposed to go right at the end, but it didn’t. At first.

The ball ended on the left lip and hung there for quite a few seconds, to Thomas’ dismay. Then he tried to help himself out. “I threw a little fit to try to see what would happen,” Thomas said.

Again, the golf gods listened, as Thomas’ ball decided to drop in the cup, a birdie, if a belated one, and the moment of the tournament.

A hole later, Thomas was in a five-way tie for the lead after a Matsuyama bogey, and then all by himself when his compatriots faltered.He showed no mercy by making it a two-shot cushion via a birdie chip-in at No. 13. “Probably the most berserk I’ve ever gone on the golf course,” Thomas said.

 Now, it was just a matter if Thomas could hold on. Reed was charging hard and several others lurked on the edge. It didn’t help Thomas’ cause when he parred the benign 14th and 15th holes, and was struggling as he came to Quail Hollow’s infamous “Green Mile.”

He batted it around up the first of the stretch’s monstrous three legs. With his lead down to one as he faced a 6-footer for par at 16, Thomas could’ve been consumed by the pressure of the moment.

Instead, he buried the putt and went right at a treacherous pin at the water-shrouded par-3 17th, knocking his tee shot to 15 feet.

“I’ll never forget that vision in my head,” Thomas said. “That was one of the best golf shots I’ve probably ever hit in my life.”

When Thomas rolled in the birdie putt to move to 9 under, he all but sealed the win.

He would enter the final hole two ahead, and was three shots clear when Kisner posted a bogey at 16. By that point, it hardly mattered what Thomas did up the closing hole.

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He hit it short of the green from a fairway bunker, chopped his third to 25 feet and two-putted for an easy bogey, his 68 and an 8-under 276 total.

Only a Kisner hole-out eagle at 18 could force a playoff, a dream that came crashing down when the 33-year-old hooked his approach in the water. The 54-hole leader would double bogey and plummet to a tie for seventh at 4 under after that final-round 74.

Thomas’ first major coming at a PGA Championship fits in another way. Both Thomas’ dad, Mike, and his grandfather, Paul, have been longtime teaching professionals – the backbone of the PGA of America, which runs the PGA Championship.

“For me, the PGA definitely had a special place in my heart,” Thomas said. “For this to be my first one and have my dad here, and I know grandpa was watching at home. I was able to talk to him and that was pretty cool.”

The younger Thomas never lacked the ability to win a major when it came to physical talent. It was on the mental side where he felt he could still grow.

He’s not entirely wrong, spiritual clairvoyance and whatever respect he has from Perry aside. As “streaky player” would imply, Thomas has been prone to valleys that are no joke. He followed up his three-win stretch with a run of 14 events where he didn’t post another and missed six cuts.

It was what appeared to be his most nondescript round, his third-day 69, that Thomas was most proud of then this week.

He invoked Tiger Woods after that performance, noting the 41-year-old used to win tournaments by five or six without his best stuff.

Thomas may not be that good, but it was an attitude he espoused Saturday that he used in no shortage in finishing things off a day later.

“I like to think that I’m mature now and I can manage an under-par round when I don’t have my best stuff,” Thomas said after his third round. “I think that’s why I feel like I’m ready to win a major championships now versus last year, I probably didn’t have that.

“You are going to have a day, usually at least a day in the tournament where you don’t have your best. You are not hitting it well. It’s what you can do with it.”

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Justin Thomas won in Malaysia. Two-time CIMB Classic champion Justin Thomas  becomes the youngest player in PGA TOUR history to shoot 59, and joins the likes of Tiger Woods as only the 5th player to win four tournaments or more before age 24.

He’s figured it out, and now it’s a major and three other wins this season. That’s probably a good thing for golf, as Thomas has never been adept at losing. Father and son often played for a dollar in the evenings of Justin’s adolescence and when the young boy lost, it wasn’t pretty.

“It was pretty heated out there,” Thomas said. “And I’m a pretty sore loser, so I did not handle it well when I lost and had to give up a dollar.” If a dollar meant that much, it’s a wonder he played with so much calm with millions on the line.

Of course, this is not the end but a likely beginning. The season isn’t over yet. Thomas has to be the favorite for player of the year honors, and that means his quest for glory this season is far from complete.

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When queried about goals this season, Thomas wasn’t ready to rest on his laurels with the Wanamaker Trophy in hand. “Let you know when the year’s over,” Thomas said.




Korea’s Kim wins 2017 Ladies British Open @Kingsbarns Golf Links, Scotland

August 7, 2017

Korea’s Kim wins 2017 Ladies British Open @Kingsbarns Golf Links, Scotland

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Korea’s I K Kim displayed nerves of steel to hold off the challenge of fast-finishing Englishwoman, Jodi Ewart Shadoff, and win the first major title of her career at the Ricoh Women’s British Open at a wet and windy Kingsbarns Golf Links.

29-year-old Kim started the final round with a six-shot lead over the field but, when Ewart Shadoff became the third player of the week to card a course record 64, the Korean needed to produce nine consecutive pars over her closing nine holes to post a one under par 71 and finish two shots clear of the Englishwoman on 18 under par 270.

Kim’s shot of the day came at the 17th where she hit a 5-wood 197-yards into the wind and over a ditch to set up a 15-foot birdie putt. She did not hole it but her regulation par gave her the luxury of a two-shot lead heading up the last and she went on to play it in text book fashion to bury the inner demons she has harboured since missing a one-foot putt on the 72nd hole of the 2012 Kraft Nabisco (now ANA Inspiration) before going on to lose the subsequent play-off to Sun Young Yoo.

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“I feel uplifted and say that because I didn’t expect to win this week,” she said. “I didn’t really have any expectations. I had one of my best warm-ups of the week, so that gave me quiet confidence. But the wind was blowing differently, and I wasn’t hitting the ball as close. I didn’t have many makeable putts, but I think as well as I could with what I had today, I think.”

Ewart Shadoff’s round of the day started with a birdie on the second and she went on to fire five more in succession from the sixth before claiming her share of the course record with two further birdies at the 13th and 17th.

“I just tried to stay in the moment and hit as many good shots as I could,” she said.

“Honestly, I didn’t think I had a shot. IK was so far ahead, and she’s been playing so good recently, so I was just trying to finish as high up as I could.

“It’s been a big boost to me,” she added. “I didn’t have much confidence coming into this week, having missed the cut last week (at the Scottish Open) but I played great. The key was my putting, my putter was on fire.”

Ewart Shadoff’s 16-under par total of 272 saw her finish three shots ahead of compatriot Georgia Hall, Germany’s Caroline Masson and first round leader Michelle Wie from America. Korea’s Jenny Shin posted a 67 to finish alone in sixth place on 276 while China’s Shanshan Feng returned the same score to finish tied seventh on eleven under par 277 alongside Korea’s Hyo Joo Kim, America’s Stacy Lewis and Swede’s Anna Nordqvist.

English international Sophie Lamb faced a Rules query and then an anxious three hour wait before being confirmed as the winner of the Smyth Salver awarded to the leading amateur who plays all four rounds of the Championship.

The 19-year-old from Clitheroe birdied the last to post a 69 and finish on six under par 282 but it was then discovered that she and playing partner Jane Park had signed for their scores on each other’s cards. A Rules official was called to the Recorders Area and she adjudged that the situation was covered by Decision 6-6d/4 and that no penalty should be applied.

Lamb then had to wait for most of the afternoon until her nearest challenger, Irish World No. 1 Leona Maguire, returned a 75 for it to be confirmed that she had won the amateur prize by three shots. Swedish amateur international My Leander also played all four rounds and closed with a 79 to finish on nine over par 297.

“It has been a fantastic week,” Lamb said. “I have played very well and it was nice to finish with a birdie.

“As an amateur, you play a lot of links golf, and I think that helped me this week,” she added. “It’s all been a bit crazy but I’m delighted to know I can compete at this sort of level. It gives me a lot of confidence.”

American Jordan Spieth wins The British Open 2017

July 24, 2017

American Jordan Spieth wins The British Open 2017

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SOUTHPORT, England — Jordan Spieth won the 146th Open Championship on Sunday at the Royal Birkdale.

On the verge of another meltdown in a major so wild off the tee that he played one shot from the driving range at Royal Birkdale and lost the lead for the first time all weekend, Spieth bounced back with a collection of clutch shots, delivering a rally that ranks among the best.

Spieth played the final five holes in 5 under and closed with a 1-under 69 for a three-shot victory over Matt Kuchar, giving him the third leg of the career Grand Slam and a chance to be the youngest to win them all next month at the PGA Championship.

Spieth joined Jack Nicklaus as the only players to win three different majors at age 23, and even the Golden Bear was impressed.”Is Jordan Spieth something else?” Nicklaus tweeted during a wild back nine.

Spieth missed four putts inside 8 feet on the front nine and lost his three-shot lead. Then, he looked certain to lose the British Open — and the reputation he craves as a reliable closer — when his tee shot on the par-4 13th was some 75 yards right of the fairway, buried in grass on a dune so steep he could barely stand up.

He took a penalty shot for an unplayable lie, and when he realized the practice range was in play, headed back on a line so far that he was behind the equipment trucks. He still had a blind shot with a 3-iron over the dunes to a fairway littered with pot bunkers, stopping just short of one of them near the green.

Kuchar, who had to wait 20 minutes for Spieth to get his situation sorted, missed his 15-foot birdie putt. Spieth pitched over the bunker to 7 feet and made the putt to escape with bogey, falling behind for the first time.

And that’s when the show began.

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Spieth hit a 6-iron that plopped down in front of the pin at the par-3 14th and came within inches of a hole-in-one. He rolled in a 4-foot birdie putt and tied Kuchar. Given new life, he holed a 50-foot eagle putt and turned to caddie Michael Greller and said, “Go get that!”

Emotions rolling, Spieth followed with a 30-foot birdie at the 16th and was ahead by two. And after Kuchar holed a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-5 17th, Spieth assured himself a two-shot margin up the final hole by pouring in yet another birdie.

From the driving range to the claret jug, Spieth put himself in hallowed territory just days before his 24th birthday. Nicklaus was about six months younger than Spieth when he won the 1963 PGA Championship for the third leg of the Grand Slam.

Spieth goes to Quail Hollow in North Carolina next month with a chance to get that final portion of the Grand Slam.

Last year, Spieth spoke with “CBS This Morning” co-host Charlie Rose on how Tiger Woods influenced his game.

“[Tiger] made it cool. He made it athletic. He showed that he kind of had an influence on a younger generation of athletes that maybe [thought], ‘Hey, golf’s cool. Let’s try golf,'” Spieth said. “And you know, it certainly was that way with me.”

On Sunday, Kuchar closed with a 69 and did nothing wrong. He just had no answers for Spieth’s final blitz. Kuchar had a one-shot lead leaving the 13th green. He played the next four holes with two pars and two birdies and was two shots behind.

Li Haotong of China shot a 63 and finished third.

US Open 2017: Brooks Koepka is the Champion@ Erin Hills

June 19, 2017

US Open 2017: Brooks Koepka is the Champion@ Erin Hills

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American Brooks Koepka equalled the US Open’s lowest winning score of 16 under to claim his first major at Erin Hills.

Koepka had three successive birdies from the 14th to match the total set by Rory McIlroy when he won in 2011 on a par-71 layout compared to this par 72.

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His five-under 67 was only bettered by Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama who posted 66 to tie for second on 12 under with overnight leader Brian Harman (72). England’s Tommy Fleetwood, shot a level-par 72 to end fourth on 11 under.

The 26-year-old from Southport, playing in just his second US Open, was unable to keep pace with playing partner Koepka on the front nine.The pair started Sunday’s final round one off the lead but Koepka holed three birdies in his first eight holes, while Fleetwood followed a birdie on the second with three bogeys in his next six holes for a five-shot swing.

Fleetwood, ranked 33rd in the world, steadied his round with a birdie on the ninth and returned to 11 under by picking up another shot on the par-five 14th and then parred his final four holes.

“I didn’t play how I wanted to,” he said on Sky Sports. “You never know how you’re going to react being up there in the final round – you’ve got to deal with that and it’s all new for me.”

However, he was quick to praise the champion. “He was brilliant, the shots he hit down the stretch, you can’t describe how hard some of them are,” Fleetwood continued.

“He was phenomenal – I would’ve like to have played like that. It was windy and he shot five under, fair play.”

How did Koepka win the title?

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BBC Radio 5 live’s Jay Townsend said in commentary that Koepka only seriously got into golf after being involved in a car accident at the age of 10.

Townsend added: “As a result, he was banned from playing contact sports and that’s how he seriously got into golf. It was kind of by accident.”

The 27-year-old from Florida had won four times on the European Tour and just once on the PGA Tour before this week.

He opened his final round in perfect fashion with birdies on his opening two holes. Another followed on the eighth and he battled hard after dropping a shot on the 10th, holing a 10-foot par-putt on the 13th before effectively winning the title with his birdie streak from the 14th.

The statistics show that he won with a combination of power and accuracy from tee to green on the 7,845-yard course, the longest in major championship history,

The fairways were the widest in US Open history and Koepka took full advantage, averaging 307 yards off the tee and hitting 88% of them across the four rounds, tied fourth overall.

“It was bombs away,” he said. “You could hit it far and the fairways were generous enough. That was a big plus for me. I’m a big ball striker. On some of these par fives I don’t even need to hit driver to get there.”

Staying on the fairways and out of the punishing thigh-deep fescue rough helped Koepka hit the most greens in regulation, 62 out of 72.

Once on the greens Koepka said he “putted brilliantly”, although he took 1.71 putts per hole, slightly above the average for the field.

On joining the likes of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as a US Open winner, he added: “To be in the same category as some of the guys on this trophy is unbelievable. This is truly special, it really is.”

What of the world’s best?

For the first time since world rankings were introduced in 1986, the top three, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day, all missed the cut at a major.

American Jordan Spieth, winner in 2015, closed with a three-under 69 as the fifth best player on the planet finished on one over. The 22-year-old was pleased with his tee-to-green play but conceded he was “not comfortable” on the greens all week and has “work to do with the putter”.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia is world number seven and the Spaniard had a solid, if unspectacular, week in Wisconsin. A two-under 70, followed by two 71s and a 72 returned a four under par total.

Rickie Fowler started the final round two off the lead and birdied the first but the world number nine did not threaten the lead at any point and costly bogeys on the 12th and 15th holes saw him finish on 10 under par after a 72.

Rest of the Brits

Eddie Pepperell was the only one of the six other Britons to make the cut to finish the day better than he started it. The 26-year-old, playing in his second US Open, carded a one-under 71 to improve to five under.

Paul Casey, who was in a four-way tie for the lead at halfway on seven under par, saw his challenge effectively end with a three-over 75 on Saturday. A quiet finish with just the two bogeys saw the 39-year-old end on two under.

Scotland’s Martin Laird also went backwards, closing with a 73 to finish the tournament as he started, on level par.

Matt Fitzpatrick of England was next best on one over after posting a four-over 76 that featured six bogeys, one double bogey and four birdies. Compatriot Andrew Johnston dropped five shots in five holes on his front nine but rallied with a couple of birdies on the back nine as he closed with a three-over 75 and two over total.

Lee Westwood finished his 18th US Open with a four-over 76 to end on seven over.