It was yet another shocking victory in a major golf tournament, as Brooks Koepka pulled off his first major win ever at the U.S. Open. Not only that, but the young golfer from Florida has made history by matching Rory McIlroy’s scoring record with a 16-under total at Erin Hills.
It seems that golf has taken a different direction as of late. Gone are the days when Tiger Woods dominated every major. No single golfer seems to be holding the reigns, and at the moment, it feels like the tournament outcomes are difficult to predict. The U.S. Open marked the seventh major in a row that was won by a first-timer.
That is not to say that Brooks Koepka didn’t deserve the win. He played an almost flawless game over the weekend and beat second-place Hideki Matsuyama and Brian Harman by four clear shots to take the Open.
Perhaps Koepka’s victory was due largely to his ability to drive the ball long. His undisputed ball-striking skills came in handy on Erin Hills' notoriously lengthy holes, and this year the course was the longest in U.S. Open history, lending itself well to Koepka’s playing style and physique. His game can be summarized by the 72nd hole where he smashed the ball for 380 yards off the tee with a 3-wood, making short work of what should have been a much more complex approach.
But despite the feeling that Erin Hills was a particularly favored course for Koepka, his putting action also helped to secure his victory, especially on the back nine where he tactfully dealt with a 10-footer and a killer 20-footer on the 16th. All in all, he truly did play a spectacular game, even after the weather broke on the third day, bringing with it the wind and rain struggles that could have brought the difficulty the U.S. Open is known for. In the end, second place Harman just couldn’t keep up, and Koepka pulled away to take home the Open trophy.
The 2017 U.S. Open is Koepka’s first major victory, and the win has taken him within the top 10 in the golf world rankings. Fans will be looking to see whether his win was a one-off or whether he will now join the ranks with the likes of Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, who are currently first and second favorites on BetStars to win the the British Open Championship. Koepka currently has 33/1 odds of winning.
Indeed, Koepka’s career has been an unusual one, and he took a different route than many into the majors. Fresh off the European Challenge Tour, where he made a mark and took four victories in only nine months, he then went on the European Tour, before securing his place on the PGA Tour. Koepka won the Turkish Airlines Open in 2014 and the Waste Management Phoenix Open in 2015, but only made his debut at the Ryder Cup last year. Only time will tell whether his career is now set to flourish into something great.