Eight birdies in the final round of the 2018 US Open, including four in a row, took England’s Tommy Fleetwood into the record books and within a proverbial inch of winning the title.
Fleetwood’s round, marred only by a bogie at the ninth, was a record-equalling 63 final round. It took him to two over for the tournament, played this year at the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, New York, and earned him an agonising wait while other contenders fought – and mostly failed – to better his score. It also earned him a second place finish and $1,296,000 in prize money.
The outright winner, like last year, was American Brooks Koepka, who finished one stroke ahead at one over.
Starting in the next to last paring, Koepka began the last day in a four-way tie for the lead with Dustin Johnson, Daniel Berger and Tony Finau.
Up ahead Fleetwood was blasting away, going out in 32 – three under – and closing the back nine with a 31, comprising six 3s, two 4s and a 5. It might have been better still had Fleetwood holed any of his birdie opportunities on the final three holes.
Watching from the back of the field, Koepka kept up his steady hitting and solid putting while his co-leaders dropped away. ‘I just kept grinding’, he said after the round – completed in 68 and good enough – just – to take the title and just over $2m in prize money.
Fleetwood said he felt so good in this final round that he always believed he could make up his starting deficit. ‘It’s easy to look at 16 and 18 where I had chances, because that’s essentially what it comes down to’, he admitted. ‘But I made so many good putts today’.
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