The final 2018 US Open leaderboard:
US Open report3>
Brooks Koepka became the first player in 29 years to successfully defend the US Open as he held off a final round charge from Tommy Fleetwood to win at Shinnecock Hills.
Koepka – who won his first major championship at Erin Hills last year – started the day tied for the lead, and he got off to a brilliant start with three birdies in the opening five holes.
Patrick Reed was also making an early move, but a huge story was developing on the other side of the golf course as England’s Fleetwood went out in a three-under-par 32 to surge up the leaderboard.
Fleetwood then rattled off birdies at 12, 13, 14 and 15 and it looked as though he would post a low number and have a significant chance of holding on, especially if afternoon conditions deteriorated like it did on Saturday.
He would go on to sign for a round of 63, but it could have been so much better. He made a par at the par-5 15th, and he hit a beautiful approach into the final hole to eight-feet. Agonisingly, the resulting putt burned the right lip. It was the sixth 63 in US Open history.
Even so, Fleetwood was in the clubhouse at two-over, and when Koepka went long at the par-3 11th hole, Fleetwood became the betting favourite.
But Koepka produced a stunning bogey-save, and that theme continued for the rest of the back-nine.
At the 12th, Koepka’s approach found the greenside rough, but he produced a beautiful chip to walk away with a par. At the 14th, the American pushed his drive into the fescue, hacked it down the fairway, and somehow managed to get up-and-down from 70 yards for par.
Koepka’s birdie at the 16th hole – the par-5 that Fleetwood failed to birdie – all but sealed it.
A bogey at the 18th wouldn’t matter – he’d finish just one stroke better than Fleetwood, and became the first player since Curtis Strange to win back-to-back US Opens.