The US Open serves as one of golf’s greatest spectacles each year, and 2017 was no different in that regard. We were treated to some exceptional golf all weekend, and while there wasn’t very much carnage, it was still an entertaining tournament. Plenty of players made it exciting on moving day, like Justin Thomas’ 63, setting us up for plenty of drama going into Sunday. While Sunday didn’t quite deliver in the way we might have hoped, there was still a quality end to the tournament as we witnessed some great golfing performances.
Brooks Koepka played consistently great golf all weekend en route to a win at Erin Hills. He ended up posting a 72 hole score to par of 16-under, tying Rory McIlroy’s record at Congressional for the lowest ever in the US Open. Koepka was bombing it all over the course, launching 3-woods 300-plus yards. His approach play was exquisite, and his putting was as good as it gets for the Florida native. Coming off a strong Ryder Cup performance last fall, Koepka’s win here is a signal of big things to come.
Koepka hit 62 of 72 greens in regulation this week, best in the field (86%). Entering this week he was 141st on TOUR at 63%, below average.
— Bucci Mane (@Buccigross) June 19, 2017
Brooks Koepka on the Erin Hills setup: "I did love it. It was kind of bombs away. That was a plus for me."
— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelESPN) June 19, 2017
Koepka birdied three straight holes Sunday on the back nine, where he was exceptional the entire tournament. Those birdies allowed him to pull away from Brian Harman and Hideki Matsuyama and finish comfortably in the lead.
Sunday did let us down in terms of the drama factor. Rickie Fowler was exceptional in his first round on Thursday, but was never really able to put it together throughout the rest of the weekend. Many people were expecting Rickie to come out hard on Sunday. Despite an early birdie on hole 2, he never really got going, finishing his day at even par for a tournament total of 10 under. Maybe the British Open will be the right setting for Fowler’s first major.
Justin Thomas was another player who disappointed on Sunday. He posted a 3-over 75 just a day after his magical round of 9-under. Inconsistent play from guys like Fowler and Thomas was the prime source of disappointment on Sundays. Both of them struggled off the tee and on the greens, just unable to make shots when it counted.
It was not the best weekend for the Tour’s big guns. Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, and Rory McIlroy all missed the cut with subpar performances. Jordan Spieth made the weekend, but he himself finished over par and simply couldn’t get anything going the whole tournament. Spieth simply didn’t look like himself on the greens, and if he would’ve just been able to sink putts, who knows what might have happened.
Hideki Matusyama had a sneakily awesome final round on Sunday. It looked like he might make his way into the conversation with his 6-under 66, but Koepka eventually ran away with it. Maybe this gets Hideki back on track after a bit of a bout of inconsistent play recently.
Tommy Fleetwood, despite no huge wins this year, has been one of the breakout studs of this year’s tour. The young English golfer has played great golf in a whole bunch of tour events all year, and his US Open performance is the cherry on top at this point. He’s certainly a guy I’d keep an eye on going into the British Open, which is set to be played on his home course.
Erin Hills was a bit of an enigma of a course this weekend. I loved all the wide shots of the links-style course with the European-esque architecture all over the place. I think it was a beautiful course, and I think it has a lot of potential as a venue in the future. However, I was a little bit disappointed by the lack of challenge it provided this weekend. The USGA shouldn’t have cut the fescue down, as there were plenty of times that could have provided a bit more pressure for some guys. The wide fairways gave guys plenty of leeway, and the course was also hurt a little bit by the weather. We didn’t get the wind we were expecting, another thing making it easier from the players. Finally, the greens were exceptionally soft, allowing for much easier approach shots and putts than initially forecasted. I think on a different weekend, this could have been a much different tournament. All in all though, I had a great time watching.