Koepka caps a record week with US Open title

To see Brooks Koepka on the 18th tee, with the village's Holy Hill basilica tall in the distant background, was to imagine, if only for a second, a vision of the young Arnold Palmer, a strongman with blacksmith arms hanging from a running back's shoulders. Ah, a sweet thought.

The scores were low at Erin Hills this weekend, and no one had a lower total that Brooks Koepka.

Koepka broke away from a tight pack with three straight birdies on the back nine Sunday at Erin Hills and closed with a 5-under 67 to win the U.S. Open for his first major championship.

The win was Koepka's second on the PGA Tour but his peers will be the first to tell you that many more are to come. Out of a bunker at the 14th, a taking-dead-aim second at the 15th, and another straight over the flagstick at the 16th - three birdies in loud exclamation of his arrival among golf's elite.

He also became the seventh consecutive first-time major champion and the third American in a row to win the US Open, the first time that's happened since 2000 when Tiger Woods followed Payne Stewart and Lee Janzen, according to the tournament's website. Here's the rest of the purse breakdown for the 66 pros who made the cut.

On Saturday night, Koepka received a phone call from Johnson, his good friend.

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Li said he enjoyed the experience despite struggling in the final two rounds and reckoned it would help his confidence in the long run. For example, before Koepka gave his post-round news conference, he was introduced by a USGA official as "Bruce".

Koepka, South Korea's Kim Si-woo, Japan's Hideki Matusyama, Englishman Tommy Fleetwood and Americans Brian Harman and Rickie Fowler were the names battling for major glory on Sunday, rather than the likes of Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink and Ernie Els.

"I'm glad the fairways were wide, but there were some really hard holes out there, and I'm glad I played as well as I did", he said.

"I learned a lot this week", Matsuyama said.

"I was kind of, I don't want to say homesick, it was just, exhausted of golf. I'll try to beat him the next time".

"He's so subdued. He's just really, really chilled out", said his caddie, Ricky Elliot. It's one of those things.

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Coming off a tied for second at the Memorial Tournament, Fowler had a double-bogey at the par-four 13th and a seven at the 15th. South African Schwartzel shot a woeful four-over 74 on Saturday, but bounced back with a final-round 66, while Kim had a 67.

It is the style of professional golf these days that all the introductions are needed at the end of the big tournaments. Between conversations I've had with Claude [Harmon III] and Pete Cowan sat me down, I think, on Tuesday, and kind of had a conversation with me just kind of staying patient, not trying to win. Even better, it served as full introduction of players who may be changing the nature of the game.

One of golf's biggest hitters, the 27-year-old also demonstrated a killer instinct along with a deft touch with the putter, rolling in a monster 41-foot birdie putt at the eighth. With a 3-1 record on Team USA's winning 2016 Ryder Cup team, Koepka had already earned a reputation as a big game player. These guys have a lot of firepower.

"When he started I couldn't hit it and I was missing cuts for fun. Exhausted of traveling. I just wanted to be home", he said.

"So it's something I just sit back and marvel at, really".

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Wait. Sorry. This reminds me of Arnold again. Palmer shot a 65 after going into the final round trailing by seven shots. That left him 273.7 yards to the front.

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As recently as 2014, Koepka said he called his manager before the final day of a European event (which he ended up winning) and said, "I don't want to play". Coming up the 18th fairway, he had built a four-shot lead.

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