Long road: Koepka's journey now includes a US Open title

Vincent De Villiers
Junho 20, 2017

Brooks Koepka reacts on the 18th hole during the fourth round of the U.S. Open golf tournament Sunday, June 18, 2017, at Erin Hills in Erin, Wis.

The U.S. Open this past weekend was a major success that included surprising cuts and record breaking moments.

Both failed by three shots to advance out of the second stage of qualifying school in Texas, leaving them with no status on any tour. With the exceptions of Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia, the other five are all less than 33 years of age, meaning they will be competing for majors for the foreseeable future. It was long - the longest in U.S. Open history - and the fescue lining the fairways was brutal.

Koepka began filling his passport. "Time to take him to the next level", said Warren Bottke, who was teaching at Abacoa GC at the time.

The long-hitting American travelled far and wide, from Kazakhstan to Kenya and mainland Europe, cramming into bed and breakfast rooms with fellow players, spending some nights sleeping in cars, and learning about life and how to win.

In 2015 he won his maiden PGA Tour title in Phoenix and in 2016 claimed the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan, but admitted he felt like an underachiever.

And he was ready to come home.

"Yeah, no doubt. I thought it was a fantastic round of golf, given what we were dealing with to start the day", the fifth-ranked player in the world said.

"I think it's an awesome golf course", said Jordan Spieth, who tied for 35th.

"He's so subdued. He's just really, really chilled out", said his caddie, Ricky Elliot.

Koepka said Sunday he had been determined not to let his latest opportunity slip away. "I don't know why I feel that way, but that's just kind of the way I feel". "I've just got to get on the greens and have that cup start to look a bit bigger".

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E ele terá muitos destinos pela frente: a empresa é uma das maiores companhias aéreas de todo o mundo, com voos para mais de 60 destinos.

He stayed. He won.

On Sunday, he added Erin Hills in Wisconsin to the list - the stop that made all those frequent flier miles worth it. Isn't that better than watching players miss tight fairways, chop out of impossible rough and win at 7-over 287?

"I thought the way my game set up I think I can win multiple times a year, I really do", Koepka said.

"This week I never got nervous", says Koepka.

Defending champion Dustin Johnson was doing most of the talking. He opened with a pair of tap-in birdies and putted for birdie on every hole but the par-3 13th. "When that happened it did give me a lot of confidence". He also made Buck look a little better by saying that Koepka only secretively told Faxon that the two were dating last week. Koepka's score tied McIlroy's record, sure, but six players were within six strokes of Koepka's final total. His runner-up finish at the U.S. Open moved him to 10th in the FedExCup and ninth in the U.S. Team's Presidents Cup standings. A par on the final hole tied Rory McIlroy's record score to par at 16 under for a four-shot victory.

2 His girlfriend, who was seen celebrating with him at Erin Hills, is actress Jena Sims who has been in films alongside the likes of Morgan Freeman, Robert DeNiro and Michael Douglas. He was only two behind when he made the turn, but bogeys on the 12th and 15th holes - and no birdies until No. 18 - ended his hopes. "The shots he hit down the stretch, you can't describe how hard some of them are", Fleetwood said of his playing partner. Koepka won the Turkish Airlines Open in 2014 over Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson.

World number one Johnson seemed unbeatable three months ago.

Leaving baseball behind him, Koepka took up golf, learning the game under the watchful eye of his father, before embarking on the European Challenger Tour in 2012.

"I just felt like I should be winning more. I know that inside myself". "It's one of those things". FOX Sports event coverage came with mixed reviews, but good or bad it was had to overlook one big gaffe at the end of the tournament.

"I think it was a blessing in disguise". "I just couldn't stand the fact that I'd only won once".

One of the stalwarts of the PGA Tour, Walker showed huge composure amid several weather delays at Baltusrol to deny defending champion Jason Day.

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