Brooks Koepka became the first man in 29 years to win back-to-back U.S. Open titles Sunday as he shot a 2-under 68 to hold off hard-charging Englishman Tommy Fleetwood by one stroke at Shinnecock Hills.
Facing a course setup and weather conditions that were far more docile than in Saturday’s third round, Koepka moved to the front quickly by birdieing three of the first five holes. But a bogey at No. 6 pulled Koepka back toward the pack and he had to scramble to only drop one shot at the par-3 11th after he airmailed the green with a pitching wedge and found a green side bunker with his second shot.
But Koepka steadied himself and ground his way home in the traditional style of a U.S. Open winner, making par on five of the next six holes and birdieing the par-5 16th to give himself some breathing room. He two-putt bogeyed the 18th hole, but that turned out to be a footnote rather than a haunting collapse.
Koepka finished at 1-over-par 281 for the championship, completing the first successful U.S. Open title defense since Curtis Strange in 1989. It was the first time since 2013 at Merion that no one broke par in the U.S. Open.
Fleetwood, Koepka’s closest competitor, was nine over par — six strokes back of the leaders — when he teed off two hours and 23 minutes ahead of the last group. Taking advantage of friendly pin placements and relatively light winds, Fleetwood became the sixth man to shoot 63 at a U.S. Open and joined Johnny Miller as the only man to do it in the final round.
But Fleetwood (282) left Shinnecock with regrets, missing an 8-foot birdie putt on 18 that would have given him a 62, tied him with Koepka for the lead, and forced a two-hole playoff.
Dustin Johnson (283), the 2016 champion and 36-hole leader, had several chances to match Koepka only to have his putter fail him. Johnson shot 70 and finished two shots behind.
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 with Koepka. But bogeys on 9, 11 and 12 were too much to overcome as Reed shot 68, finishing three shots behind Koepka and missing the chance to complete the first Masters-U.S. Open double since Jordan Spieth accomplished the feat in 2015.
Tony Finau and Daniel Berger started the day in the final pairing, but both men appeared to let the occasion get to them. Finau bogeyed three of the first four holes, while Berger dropped shots on two of the first three holes. Finau (285) shot 72 and finished fifth, four shots behind Koepka. Berger (286) shot 73 to join Xander Schauffele, Tyrrell Hatton and Henrik Stenson in a tie for sixth at 6-over par.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.