Brooks Koepka Dominates at 117th U.S Open at Erin Hills PDF Print E-mail



Brooks Koepka poses with his new hardware after winning the 117th U.S Open



Erin, Wisconsin - The 117th U.S Open at Erin Hills had a bit of everything -

The drama of an aging legend still looking to complete the grand slam that

ended up missing the event because of his daughter's high school graduation,

fescue rough that early in the week had to be measured in feet not inches, weather

that didn't quite cooperate with the planned firm and fast links-like playing surface,

and by Friday evening the top 3 players (and 6 of the top 10) on the planet were

all trunk slammin. Also, a record tying 63 (or breaking - whichever way you choose

to look at it) was shot on Saturday by Justin Thomas. Oh, and how could I forget,

a tragic blimp crash as well. As a matter of fact the USGA media staff were handing

us memos in the press room stating their non-involvment before the privately owned

midwest Hindenburg even made touch down on farmland next to the golf course.

Otherwise it all went off as planned . . .


At 7,800 yards, the thought was a brutish linksy type layout with it's usual windy

conditions would punish the competitors in typical blue blazer/Far Hills, N.J style,

but when mother nature had other plans - dumping copious amounts of rain early

in the week, the course turned into a massive dart board. When you give the best

players in the world, soft playing conditions with very little wind (until Sunday) they

go low. And go low they (many of them) did.


Once the dust cleared from all of the above and the final round began on Sunday,

it was a certainty that someone would capture their first major (the top 16 on the

leaderboard at Erin Hills were all non-major winners).


By the back nine on Sunday, the competition had whittled the challengers down

to four players: Brian Harman (the 54 hole leader), Brooks Koepka (who was

leading the field in Greens Hit in Regulation), the Uk's Tommy Fleetwood and

Japanese superstar and World no.4 Hideki Matsuyama. Fan favorite Rickie Fowler

struggled all day and never seriously mounted a charge. Matsuyama, who was the

hottest player on the course finished an hour before the leaders with a final round

66 to post 12 under par in the clubhouse. Tommy Fleetwood, the slight Englishman

playing with Koepka, just couldn't match the horsepower and precision being

displayed by the 27 year old native of the 561 area code. The diminutive Harman

lasted the longest in the challenger role, but faltered on the back nine starting with

his bogey on the short par 4 twelfth.


Eventually Koepka just outlasted the field with his flawless ball striking, his only

bogey was a 3 putt at the 10th. He pulled away in vintage business-like Tiger Woods

fashion. After a great up and down save at the 13th, he rattled off 3 straight

birdies to grab command for good. Koepka's clutch bunker shot at the short par 4

- 15th was mighty impressive, and when he rolled in another at the 16th, it was time

to start engraving the trophy. Koepka's four shot victory is the first major of his

young career, his final round 67 to reach 16 under par was the stuff that legends are

made of. The 272 total score ties four players - Nicklaus, Janzen, Woods and Jim Furyk

for the third lowest total in U.S Open history. Only McIlroy's 268 at Congressional (2011)

and Martin Kaymer's 271 total at Pinehurst (2014) are lower. Koepka's -16 score in

relation to par ties McIlroy's mark from 2011.


Koepka, who is the first ever Florida born U.S Open Champion reflected afterward: "The

par save on 13, that built some confidence," Koepka said. "That was kind of the

changing point of the round for me."



This year's U.S Open also was the first time in the history of the championship that

any player other than the winner finished double digits under par, 7 players managed

the feat at Erin Hills:

Koepka       -16

Matsuyama  -12

Harman       -12

Fleetwood    -11

Schauffele   -10

Haas          -10

Fowler        -10

The design collaboration of Hurdzan/Fry/Whitten on central Wisconsin farmland

is only 11 years old, and similar to taking the U.S Open in 2015 to Chambers Bay,

this was another big gamble by Mike Davis and the USGA. To bring America's

National Championship to a venue with zero history showed a less than typical

conservative mindset from the folks of Far Hills, N.J. Given the conditions, the

course held up fine, and likely will return to a future Open as par 71 scorecard.


Brooks Koepka's key stats for the week:


62 of 72 Greens in Regulation = 1st

49 of 56 Fairways Hit = T4

322.1 Driving Distance = 7th

21 Birdies = T2

1.17 Putts Per Hole = T51




*check out our blog section for images from our week at Erin Hills















Berger Repeats at Fedex St.Jude Classic PDF Print E-mail



Daniel Berger celebrates after going back to back at TPC Southwinds

Memphis, Tenn. - Defending champion Daniel Berger started the day three

shots behind the lead, but after making hard work on the opener (he needed

to chip in on the first for par) he righted the ship. A final round 66 at TPC

Southwinds was enough to reach 10 under par and clip Charl Schwartzel

and South Korean Whee Kim by a stroke - becoming only the fourth player

ever to repeat in Memphis (Hill, Trevino and David Toms are the others).


"We hear a lot about the young guns and about Justin Thomas and Jordan

Spieth, but I feel like I kind of get forgotten a little bit," Berger said. "I'm

pretty good, so I'm just going to try and keep doing my thing and see if I

can't get a few more. I played really great through the first couple days

but I didn't make as many putts," Berger said. "Then the last couple days

they just started to fall and that was the big difference."



Both Schwartzel who shot a final round 66, and Whee Kim with 67 finished

tied at -9.










Dufner Drains Walkoff Putt - Wins Memorial PDF Print E-mail


Jason Dufner poses with the crystal after winning at Muirfield Village

Dublin, Ohio - If all you saw was the first two rounds and the final

putt on Sunday you came away from the 2017 Memorial thinking it

was a Jason Dufner wire to wire snooze fest. Zero drama right?

Nothing could have been further from the truth. It was day three and

four of this tournament that included a collapse, two late final round

weather delays and an epic walkoff by the "Duf" himself.


It did indeed start out as a runaway by the former Auburn standout at

Jack Nicklaus' annual PGA Tour stop just outside of Columbus. In this

edition of the Memorial, Jason Dufner ran the tables in rounds one &

two with a pair of 65's - and led by five strokes entering Saturday.

It's a strange game, and after being in absolute cruise control Thursday

& Friday, the wheels came off on moving day. Dufner moved into

reverse shooting 77, allowing the field to swallow up his lead and leave

him searching for answers on the range late Saturday. He vowed not

to leave the course angry, so he worked through the process and re-

grouped for Sunday (now trailing by four shots).


On Sunday he bumped into Jack Nicklaus and declared "I'm still in

this thing, anything can happen, I still have a shot." Indeed, he did.

Dufner stood on the 72nd tee on Sunday with a two shot lead and

made his worst swing of the day - blocking his tee shot right, into the

nastiest rough on the property - leaving no other shot but a pitch out.

Then the horn sounded for rain delay #2. After 1 hour and 17 minutes,

the six remaining players resumed play at 8:05 eastern. Dufner

attempted to punch out to the fairway but never made it, he advanced

his ball about 90 yards but it was still in the rough. Meanwhile his

closest challenger - Rickie Fowler stood in the middle of the shortgrass

with just a wedge in hand. A birdie/bogey scenerio looked very possible

at this moment. Dufner hit his sand wedge approach (his 3rd shot) to the

middle of the green 32 feet away. Just as it looked like a playoff, Fowler

pulled his pitching wedge left of the putting surface completely short

siding himself in the thick stuff (instantly, birdie became a very unlikely

possibility). Dufner could likely end Fowler's hopes with a two putt bogey,

but stepped up and drained the long range bomb to seal the deal. Walk off

putt, GAME OVER!


It was the first time anyone had shot a third round 77 and won on tour

since Nick Faldo did it in 1989. Kenny Knox also did it in 1986 at the

Honda Classic.


As it turned out, Dufner shot a final round 68 to finish at -13, winning

by three shots. Afterward he discussed his thoughts about coming back

from his third round debacle, "Yesterday was not my best day," the 40

year old native of Ohio said. "But I had to get over it quick. It's a 72 hole

tournament, there's a lot of things that can happen out there. I knew I was

still in the mix."


Anirban Lahiri shot 65 on Sunday to finish tied with Rickie Fowler (70)

for 2nd at 10 under par. 54 hole leader Daniel Summerhays shot a final

round 78 to finish T10 at 7 under par.













Final Round 62 Lifts Noren to BMW Title, Kisner Wins at Colonial PDF Print E-mail


Alex Noren celebrates the biggest win of his career - the BMW Championship at Wentworth

Surrey, England - At the European Tour's flagship event, the BMW Championship

(at the revamped Wentworth West course), Sweden's Alex Noren came from seven

shots back - firing a blistering 62 Sunday to notch the biggest win of his career.

The BMW kicked off the tour's brand new Rolex Series of events.



Noren started the final round on fire, making the turn with a front nine 31 after

birdies at the first, second, fourth and seventh holes. He went on to birdie holes

twelve thru fourteen, sixteen and then capped off his career best round with an

impressive 5 iron approach to six feet at the par 5 finale. He sealed the deal

by holing the eagle putt to post 11 under par (leader in the clubhouse). Although

he finished well ahead of the final groups (and had to wait as they finished), it

seemed unlikely that any of the contenders would catch him especially since

rain became a factor as the challengers entered the toughest stretch on the back



"It feels amazing and crazy because I had no intention of trying to win this

morning," said Noren. "I didn't even think about it when I came off the course

quite angry yesterday after playing a good round and chipping it into the water

from the back of the green on 18. It's a great feeling now but it feels unreal.

It's a tough course mentally coming down the stretch. It's not super narrow

but it's just if you hit it a little bit wayward it can cost you. I putted probably

the best I ever putted."


Francesco Molinari shot a final round 68 to finish solo second at -9. Nicolas

Coalserts (65), Henrik Stenson (68) and Hideto Tanihara (68) all finished tied

for third at 8 under par.








Kevin Kisner poses with the trophy and tartan jacket at Colonial

Fort Worth, Texas - The big question at Colonial on Sunday was whether

Kevin Kisner could close the deal Sunday at Hogan's Alley or would he

add to his large number of recent runner up finishes.


Dean & Deluca Defending Champion Jordan Spieth, rookie sensation Jon

Rahm and a resurgent Sean O'Hair all put up furious charges to win but

it all came down to a par putt on the 72nd hole for Kisner. After going

long on his approach, the Aiken, South Carolina native chose "Texas Wedge"

from behind the green - after putting thru the "into the grain" fringe, he

left himself an uphill 7 footer for the win. Kisner calmly stepped up and

poured the winning putt into the center of the cup to finish with a final

round 66 (10 under par total) to win by a stroke - avoiding a four way

playoff and notching his second career tour victory (the RSM at Sea Island

in the fall series was his first).


Kisner had been trending at Colonial, in 2015 he finished fifth and last year

tied for tenth.


"Everybody was questioning if I was ever going to win, then I win and then

everybody questions if I was ever going to win again. So I knew the way I

was playing I was going to give myself a ton of chances to win. That's all

you ever dream about, is having a chance coming down the last five holes.

I've had that probably three or four times this year. Today I was just having

fun with it. I love the golf course and being in that position. I was just having

a great time."


Spieth (65), O'Hair (66) and Rahm (66) all finished tied for second at -9.

















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