Dustin Johnson's US Open hopes fade on back 9

Doug Mendoza
June 23, 2018

That's how ugly it was here, as the U.S. Open steadily descended into carnage as the day progressed.

"I've never seen a course change so quick", former Open victor Justin Rose said. "I enjoy playing about the toughest in golf you are ever going to play". It's much more gratifying the second time.

Fleetwood is the fifth player to shoot 63 in the final round of a major and not win.

He finished at 1-over 281, 13 shots higher than his winning score at Erin Hills previous year. But, you know, I mean, honestly, to me, that was really the last thing on my mind.

"I would've taken five, to be honest with you, from where we were".

Rickie Fowler started the day tied for ninth and shot 84.

The USGA had the hoses out after the final pairing most of the evening, watering the greens in an attempt to lessen the scorching and preserve some of the grass.

He had good chances to birdie the final three holes but missed them all, including an uphill eight-footer at the last with history beckoning. The first 11 groups had a scoring average of 73.6; the last 11 groups - the top 22 golfers through the first 36 holes - averaged 77. It cost him a chance in a playoff.

Masters champion Patrick Reed (284) started the day three strokes off the lead, but birdied five of the first seven holes to briefly share the lead of the Koepka. His one-stroke victory Sunday over Tommy Fleetwood even topped Koepka's first major victory a year ago at Erin Hills. The first, of course, ended with a win.

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Koepka, with a performance and a demeanor reminiscent of Retief Goosen winning at Shinnecock Hills in 2004, began the back nine with three pivotal putts - one for birdie, one for bogey, one for par. A par would have bought him more than $120,000.

Koepka pulled it to the left, down the slope, and into thick grass.

He went about his business while others fretted about green speeds and the wind. I think the fans like that, too.

He also made an incredible 55-foot putt for a birdie at the second. However, the reason he was able to shoot a one-over for the tournament and close with a two-under 68 was his ability to make clutch putts once he found his stride in the second round. He finished at 2 over and wound up one shot behind repeat victor Brooks Koepka.

Fleetwood, who finished in a tie for fourth at Erin Hills, came rushing home with a 63. Johnson shot 70 and finished two shots behind.

Tommy Fleetwood gave Koepka a run for his money, ultimately finishing at 2-over 282 for the weekend after posting an outstanding 7-under 63 on Sunday - the best score for anyone on the weekend and a Shinnecock record. "He kept it together". But after almost equalling the best ever round in a major of 62 he was pleased with his day's work. "It wasn't great for me, but it was great as a golfer to watch how he did it". They go into the final day tied for the lead with Dustin Johnson and defending champion Brooks Koepka.

The USGA admitted Saturday it had lost a handle on the course. "And when that happens, you're taking out a lot of the bite of the golf course".

"He was busy grinding his tail off and I was busy grinding mine".

Other reports by GizPress

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