PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – It would be hard to criticize Brooks Koepka in his quest for history Sunday at Pebble Beach.
He made a birdie in four of the first five holes, shot under 68 and played as a guy trying to win a bet rather than the American Open.
In the end, that was simply not enough, as Koepka had three fewer shots than Gary Woodland in his quest to win a third consecutive Open in the United States.
"It does not sting," said Koepka, who wanted to join Willie Anderson (1903-1905) as the only player to win three consecutive games at the US Open. "I played very well, I could not do anything, I gave everything, I give it my heart every time and sometimes, like this week – it happened in Augusta – it's not supposed to be it.
"I played very well, I hit every shot I wanted, and sometimes, good as it is, it's not there."
Koepka paid tribute to Woodland, who led Justin Rose at two o'clock at the beginning of the day and four in front of Kepka. Woodland played the last five holes in 2 under par, making a miraculous stop by cutting the opposite side of the green at the 17th hole 90 feet to a few inches from the cup, then adding an exclamation point birdie on the final green. finish at 13 under.
That means 29-year-old Koepka has now finished first, tied for the second, first and second of his last four major leagues. It has four major titles dating from the 2017 US opening at Erin Hills. He defended this title last year at Shinnecock Hills. He has since won two PGA championships.
Koepka missed the draw against Tiger Woods at the Masters in April. Two good birdie opportunities in the last few holes were defeated after hitting the ball in the water and a double bogey on the 12th earlier in the round at Augusta. National.
On Sunday, he dreamed of putting pressure on Woodland – but he managed only one more bird and did not manage to make birdies on the last two by-5s.
That means he became the first player in the history of the opening of the US Open to shoot four rounds in the 60s and not win. Lee Trevino (1968), Lee Janzen (1993) and Rory McIlroy (2011) – with Woodland also joining the list – are the only other players to have done and everyone won the tournament.
Koepka's last hope seemed to be to make an eagle at the 18th hole – or at least a birdie to reduce the advantage to 1 shot, Woodland looking distressed in the 17th.
But after a good workout, he failed to maintain his 3-Iron shot on the putting green and his back token approached 7 feet. He missed the putt.
"At the time, it was important," Koepka said. "I had the impression of reading well, and it just seemed to dive right in. I felt like it was one of those putts if I hit hard, it was never going to break And I tried, I hit a good putt, he just dipped right in front of me.
"Sometimes there's nothing you can do, of course, I'd like to get it back in. I thought it would be nice to pressure him, a shot in the last hole, but I'm pleased with that, glad to see everything that happened. "
There was certainly no shame in finishing second. When Anderson won a third US Open in 1905 at Myopia Hunt Club, he beat only 78 players and earned $ 200. Scotsman shot 81-80-76-77 to win his fourth US Open overall.
Since the Second World War, only Ben Hogan and Curtis Strange had the chance to reach this mark before Koepka, showing how difficult it is to capture even consecutive US Open. Hogan finished third in 1952 after winning in 1950 and 1951; Strange finished tied for 21st place in 1990 after winning the 1988 and 1989 victories.
"It was great to be so close to being three straight," said Koepka. It's amazing. Whenever you can participate in a major competition is special and have a chance to return back to back, it was pretty cool. I did not really think about it until I was 18 and I realized how close I was to not doing a story, I suppose, but rather to link it, I guess that could be said. But it's a cool feeling to know. It was not supposed to be this week. & # 39; & # 39;