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Thomas struggling in US Open

Thomas struggling in US Open

The winds of change were blowing at the U.S. Open on Sunday as Brooks Koepka sailed to a four-stroke victory at Erin Hills, making it the seventh consecutive major that has crowned a first-time victor.

Brooks Koepka poses with the winning trophy after the U.S. Open golf tournament Sunday, June 18, 2017, at Erin Hills in Erin, Wis.

It was an accomplishment that wasn't lost on golf's newest major champion, even if his father and other family members weren't in attendance at Erin Hills on Sunday and missed one of Koepka's appearances at a major for the first time.

Brooks Koepka shot a 5-under 67 to finish at 16-under 272 and match Rory McIlroy's tournament record for most shots under par. By early 2015 he was back stateside and a victor on the PGA Tour when he finished first at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. It's just a matter that this is one of the four majors in a year, and this is a U.S. Open. It's a score that would've won all but two of the previous 116 renditions of the U.S. Open.

"Down the stretch, he was brilliant", said playing partner Tommy Fleetwood, who shot even-par 72. "But I was very pleased, and from 9 on I was good".

He followed with birdies at 15 and 16 to suddenly widen his gap to four shots and close in on the Open championship.

The miscues put Koepka alone back on top of the leaderboard, a perch from which he would not be removed. When he pushed a 30-foot birdie try on No. 12 a full 12 feet past the hole, he set himself up for bogey.

"It made me feel a lot better seeing Brooks shoot 5-under", Thomas said.

At 13 under par the American pair enjoyed a two-shot lead over Fleetwood, who had holed from eight feet for birdie on the second before three-putting the next. Their minds are going to wander, to drift off to thinking about what happens if I win the US Open. Despite facing a jumbled leaderboard with a multitude of contenders making birdies all around him, Koepka stayed true to his game and executed when it mattered most.

"On 10 I just hit a poor putt, not enough speed, and 11 the same thing", he said, underlining the importance the putt on 13.

That would be it for Harman, who couldn't make up the ground and finished tied for second at 12-under par after shooting even par.

After days of being humbled, Erin Hills turned nasty for the final round as heavy winds pummeled the links-style layout adding an intriguing wrinkle to the year's second major. I'm sure at some point it will come back here. "But I can't complain the way I finished it", Stricker said. When the wind picked up Sunday, Ernie Els thought of another major championship. You're here to play golf for 18 holes. "And, as the week went on, coming into [Sunday] I kind of realized I didn't really have a shot anymore, but I still wanted to play my best golf and see what I could do". The only drama was if he'd become the first ever to finish at 17-under in a U.S. Open.

"It's taken me a long time to learn how to not try to win".

Jordan Spieth has described Erin Hills as an "awesome golf course" after finishing his US Open campaign with a three-under 69. Without a card on any tour when Koepka got out of Florida State, he filled his passport on the Challenge Tour with stamps from Kazakhstan to Kenya, Scotland and Spain, India and the Madeira Island.

Rickie Fowler was two behind Harman on 10 under after a 68 which kept him firmly in contention. "Now I think he's got a lot of confidence".