Long road: Koepka's journey now includes a US Open title

Koepka's four-stroke triumph at Erin Hills on Sunday, at a record-equalling tournament aggregate of 16 under par, means he succeeds Johnson as the US Open champion.

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.

Brian Harman had just tied for second at the 117th U.S. Open, had just beaten 154 of the best players in the universe, had just won $1.05 million for a week's work and had just jumped into the top 10 in the Presidents Cup standings.

Both failed by three shots to advance out of the second stage of qualifying school in Texas, leaving them with no status on any tour. As recently as a couple of years ago he didn't seem to thrilled about his career choice. He still has yet to break par on a Sunday in the U.S. Open.

Koepka began filling his passport. "One thing Brooks did was he took advantage of every opportunity Florida State gave him, from our facilities, coaches, starting in the lineup to winning golf tournaments".

The long-hitting American travelled far and wide, from Kazakhstan to Kenya and mainland Europe, cramming into bed and breakfast rooms with fellow players, spending some nights sleeping in cars, and learning about life and how to win.

T5. Bill Haas (-10): I don't think we mentioned Haas' name enough considering the golf he put together over the last three days (68-68-69).

One of those was the 39-year-old Casey, who said: "I'm over the moon with a 66".

"I don't believe in moral victories", Harman said. "It will happen", Koepka said.

"He came through Europe but he is an American so I know he wanted to win on his home turf".

He stayed. He won.

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Is it better for the game to have a megastar like Tiger or this hugely competitive array of excellent players? "But, at the same time, I don't feel like I lost a golf tournament, I think Brooks went out and won the tournament".

Those who saw him couldn't ignore the sheer athleticism, raw power and quiet confidence. "After he made the final putt, he said to me, 'If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be here, '" Bottke said.

The reviews of Erin Hills, with the tournament was complete, were largely positive. The best thing for Koepka, of course, would be to go on a run of victories in majors.

"I'd never contended for a major before so when you get to Saturday and Sunday, you've got to see how you react and how you feel", Fleetwood said. He also made Buck look a little better by saying that Koepka only secretively told Faxon that the two were dating last week. "For us it was like two minutes, it wasn't much".

Koepka shot a 5-under 67 with six birdies and one bogey.

It's hard to imagine who the moment was more awkward for, Koepka, Sims, Edwards, or Buck. He followed that up with birdies on the next three holes.

Harman had been tied with Koepka after his birdie putt on the third did a full circuit of the hole before dropping in, but found heavy rough off the tee on the 12th to make only his third bogey of the week. Koepka won the Turkish Airlines Open in 2014 over Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson. Let's see what he can do next month when the Open is held at Royal Birkdale in his native Southport. With that big week in Minnesota (3-1-0), came an invitation to the intimate after party in the victorious US team room. The 27-year-old played the early part of his career on the European Challenge Tour, then graduated to the European circuit before making his way onto the PGA Tour he now calls home.

That experience is a great asset, and I'm sure he would have drawn on his knowledge of playing British links courses when the wind picked up in Wisconsin on Sunday. "I've got high expectations for myself and, right now, I feel like I can do anything". I don't think anyone out here is. I was able to get to a few under by just accepting the fact that the putt might miss instead of having to have it be flawless.

Make a regular night out a big night out.

Justin Thomas, coming off a 9-under 63 that matched the major championship scoring record and was the first 9-under round at a U.S. Open, went out in 39 and closed with a 75 to tie for ninth.

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