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Brooks Koepka caps a record week with US Open title

ERIN, Wis. (AP) – Brooks Koepka had a birdie putt on every hole and made three of them to build a one-shot lead after nine holes Sunday in the U.S. Open.When Matsuyama, at number four the highest ranked player to make the cut, delivered the round of the day a six-under 66 to get within one of the lead, a rampaging Koepka countered with golf’s version of the knockout punch, clinching victory in ruthless style by registering three straight birdies from the 14th. We have a lot of young players trying to win their first major. He did not get a birdie until No. 10 and never got another one.Brian Harman, Brooks Koepka and Tommy Fleetwood are part of the four-way tie after each fired a 2-under 70.After weeks of pouring his heart and soul into qualifying for the first U.S. Open played in Wisconsin, Madison’s Steve Stricker was right where he wanted to be after the tournament’s second round.He was two back of Jordan Spieth and Bubba Watson heading into the last round at the 2014 Masters but shot 73 and never threatened.A day on from shooting a record-breaking nine-under 63, Justin Thomas went round in 75 to finish tied-ninth, while Patrick Reed (74) also failed to challenge.Casey chopped his way to a triple bogey, only to respond with five straight birdies that carried him to a 1-under 71 and make him the first to post at 7-under 137.”My best friend has caddied for me for six or seven years”, said Champ. The English star is having a second revival of sorts this season, beating Johnson in Abu Dhabi in January, finishing as the runner up at the World Golf Championship in Mexico and now notching his first-ever top-10 finish in a major at Erin Hills. I think that built some confidence.The 39-year-old was only able to move his fourth shot a matter of inches in heavy rough over the back of the green on the par five, before hacking out sideways and taking three putts from just off the green.”I really should have made that up and down on 18 (for birdie and 17 under)”.The 356 yard par-four 15th was the not only the toughest hole of Sunday’s final round but proved key swing in the trophy chase.Neither got what they were looking for Sunday at the U.S. Open. He shot 75 and missed the cut. I did the work, looked at the golf course, made sure that I could actually play and visualize the golf course.And Casey was joined at the end of play by compatriot Tommy Fleetwood, and USA duo Brooks Koepka and Brian Harman on seven under par.There’s plenty of golf left to be played and Mother Nature will dictate what the course will tee up.The quartet are seven under at Erin Hills after a Friday that saw Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama surge up a congested leaderboard with a stunning seven-under 65, while the world’s top-ranked players were unable to stage recoveries. Fowler shot a 73 and was still very much in the hunt at a second straight major just one shot behind. “I would have had to play some pretty spectacular golf to catch him”.While the top three players in the world missed the cut, Koepka showed in his U.S. Open win reasons to believe that he can join the Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy tier sooner than many expected. He says the greens on his last few holes “were firming up”.