US Open: Brooks Koepka salutes worthy champion Gary Woodland
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 17/06/19 6:26am
Brooks Koepka gave credit to new US Open champion Gary Woodland and insisted there was little he could do to deny his fellow American at Pebble Beach.
Koepka piled pressure on the long-time leader with a flying start to his final round as he birdied four of the first five holes, although his bid for a third consecutive victory and a fifth major title in two years stalled when he missed good chances at six and seven and then bogeyed the eighth.
He picked up another shot at the 11th only to give it straight back after a poor tee shot at 12, but he was unable to find the birdies he needed down the stretch as a 68 left him three shots behind the new first-time champion.
"I played great, but there was nothing I could do," said Koepka, who broke 70 on all four days to finish in outright second on 10-under par. "Gary played a great four days, and that's what you've got to do if you want to win a US Open, win a major championship and hats off to him.
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"It was a cool way to go out on 18, to make that bomb. He deserves it, he's worked hard and I'm happy for him.
"It doesn't sting. I gave it my all, and I give it my all every time and sometimes, like at Augusta, it's not meant to be. I played great, I hit every shot that I wanted to, and sometimes no matter how good your good is, it isn't there.
"But it was awesome to come this close to going three in a row. It's incredible. Anytime you can compete in a major is special and to have a chance to go back-to-back-to-back, that was pretty cool.
"I didn't really think about it until I was done on 18 and realised how close I actually was to, not making history, but kind of tying it, I guess you could say. But it's a cool feeling to know. Just wasn't meant to be this week."
Koepka had a great chance to finish on 11 under and get within one of the leader, who looked in big trouble on the penultimate hole when he pushed his tee shot too far right and left himself a tough up-and-down from 90 feet.
But Koepka's nine-foot birdie putt slid past the cup on the right, and Woodland maintain his two-shot advantage with a classy chip to two feet back on the 17th and popped in the putt to save his par.
"At the time, my putt felt significant," Koepka added. "I felt like I had a good read on it, and it just seemed to just dive right across the front. I felt like it was one of those putts that, if I hit firm, it was never going to break.
"I hit a good putt it just dove right across the front, so sometimes there's just nothing you can do. Of course I'd love to have it back. I thought it would be nice to put some pressure on him, one shot going into the last hole.
"I had no idea what was going on, but I'm pleased with it. I'm pleased with everything that happened."