It is not clear when she and Koepka began to date, but it was not long before she entered the spotlight during Koepka’s U.S. Open celebration. Johnson was in a four-way tie for the lead at 3-over 213, the highest 54-hole score to lead the US Open since the fabled “Massacre at Winged Foot” in 1974. If he had made birdie, he would have tied Fleetwood and made almost $500,000 more than he ended up making. The only similarity in victories between last year and this year is that the name of the courses had the word “Hills” in it.
“I didn’t even want him to know I was there”, he said.
He really is a major player. “It was pretty sore, but I had no problems since then”. Calling the shots, I obviously can’t hear what he’s saying. And on Thursday I really stuck in all the way round. 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. “. You have got to just kind of let things roll off your back”.
Ah, but there is always one.
“I had chances the last few holes to shoot 61 or 62”, he admitted, knowing the record in a major is Branden Grace’s 62 at last year’s British Open.
“I had a chance”, Reed said. “Hell, I came close, and he’d beat me like a yard dog”.
“Unfortunately, I haven’t done it as much in regular tour events or throughout my career”, Koepka said. “So it’s been a great day”. It was a bit different this year. But once it was time to come back, he didn’t flinch. The former University of Arizona player finished at 20 under with weekend round of 62 and 64. He settled in for a long wait to see whether he had won the tournament. He had a sandwich. “It was great as a golfer to watch how he did it and how he closed out”. He spent it with his son, Frankie, and wife Clare. After his 25-foot putt went past the hole, he missed a 4-foot putt coming back.
“The time went quickly”, he shrugged.
At that moment, “I felt I could have easily been derailed”, Koepka said.With little room to work, he purposely ran his wedge shot all the way across green to a bunker. “That’s exciting. I wasn’t up on that information”.
“I feel for the membership right now”. So I was better warming up to be safe. “I just finally did”. Fleetwood’s initial feeling was correct.
A year after he marched to victory with a 16-under total at Erin Hills, Koepka kept his nerve on the back nine to emerge with a one-over-par total of 281. But the lad from Southport in northwest England is not short of perspective. Erin Hills had spacious fairways. The place is going to play easier.
So much so that Koepka went stir-crazy when he sat out for three months with a wrist injury to start the season. It’s their first time at the tournament. I think I can compete in any company. I was hitting it okay. “Six three-putts the last two rounds”. At +1, he was a single stroke ahead of Tommy Fleetwood, who’d been in the Shinnecock Hills clubhouse for two hours after posting a record-tying 63 earlier in the day.
It’s amusing how Fleetwood’s image, with his long hair, bright personality and Northern accent, means he still doesn’t get taken all that seriously as a proper golfer. Did it ever. Not only did Fleetwood shoot 63, but the whole field had a better day.