In ultimate round, a scarce stumble for Brooks Koepka – Atlanta Journal Constitution

The Brooks Koepka on screen Sunday at the Tour Championship was not the exact male most golf enthusiasts hope to see in the final spherical of a big tournament. 

Keeping a just one-shot direct with 18 holes remaining — and paired in the last team with Rory McIlroy, one of his two closest competitors — the four-time big champion and possible PGA Tour Participant of the Year unsuccessful to flex his muscle all day. On a great August day that had go-minimal likely created all more than it, Koepka barely received out of third equipment.

“Just a person of those times in which you do not experience comfortable,” he explained. “I suggest, I can’t carry it every day.”

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Koepka shot a disappointing 2 above 72 — he had opened the tournament with a pair of 67s and a 68 — and wound up tied for third, 5 photographs driving McIlroy.

Koepka was even now hitting it a mile — he averaged 323 yards on Sunday and 321.1 yards for the tournament — but the precision wasn’t there. He strike only 5 fairways in the final spherical, forcing him to play from East Lake’s dense Bermuda rough — or even worse.

“Just didn’t set the ball in engage in, male,” Koepka said. “If you’re not heading to set it in engage in, you are heading to have a really hard time scoring, you’re likely to have a difficult time managing your distances.”

The decisive human body blow for Koepka came at the seventh gap when he hooked his tee shot into the trees. Soon after sending out a lookup-and-rescue group to poke all around every single pine cone in the vicinity, the ball was declared missing and Koepka experienced to play his 357-yard provisional drive. He wound up using a double-bogey. 

That misfortune, coupled with McIlroy’s birdie, flipped the scoreboard. Abruptly, Koepka’s 1-shot direct experienced turned into a two-shot deficit. It was a 3-shot swing from which he in no way recovered.

Koepka acquired a momentary reprieve when he birdied the eighth gap, but missing any shot to capture McIlroy with 3 consecutive bogeys at No. 12, 13 and 14. 

“Those a few putts I missed form of appropriate there in a row, 12, 13, 14, sort of took the air out of everything,” he mentioned. 

Koepka stated earlier Sunday that he’d fallen into some “old undesirable habits” the last few months. His playoff finishes weren’t great — a tie for 30th at the Northern Rely on and a tie for 24th at the BMW Championship. But among the close of the 3rd round, which was accomplished on Sunday morning, and the get started of the last round, Koepka was at relieve with his sport. 

Right after using a nap and grabbing a bite of lunch, Koepka headed for the variety for his last warmup. That’s when he discovered some thing just was not right 

“It was just one of these days where by even on the assortment, I did not truly feel very comfortable with the driver,” he claimed. “I just couldn’t — it wasn’t fading sufficient. Every thing was sort of remaining and it happens the moment in a although.”

The consequence was a unusual stumble for Koepka, who gained three periods this season — together with the PGA Championship — and virtually claimed his third straight U.S. Open up title. 

“This yr was quite, quite reliable,” he stated. “This week just didn’t get it accomplished. I do not imagine I was going to beat Rory today, even if I experienced it. But pleased with the period over-all.”

Afterward, Koepka took a deep breath and talked about his strategies for the upcoming five months, an itinerary that contains no golfing and a lot of off time, maybe on a seaside. 

“Vacations,” he mentioned. “I’m likely to get pleasure from myself.” 

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