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Brooks Koepka wins the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills

One of the game’s great young talents and power players took the U.S. Open with a dominant Sunday at Erin Hills.

PGA: U.S. Open - Final Round
Brooks Koepka wins his first major, and does it running away in the 117th U.S. Open.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Brooks Koepka may confirm the biases that many had coming into this U.S. Open that Erin Hills would set up as a bombers’ paradise. Koepka is an American masher — he murders the ball off the tee with the best of them, including his friend, mentor of sorts, and defending U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson. We can exaggerate how pro golfers are athletes these days, but not with Koepka. He looks like a linebacker and has the power game of one, too.

But Koepka’s first of what could be multiple major championships was more than just force on the longest course in the history of the U.S. Open. The length of the course obscured the strategy it demanded and we got the kind of eclectic leaderboard that brought this out over four days in Wisconsin. More than just power players competed here and for most of Sunday, Koepka’s primary challenger, the diminutive Brian Harman, represented the opposite of the power game.

Koepka, of course, used his distance to his advantage but he needed more than that to threaten U.S. Open scoring records. While most of the front nine was spent jammed up at the top with Harman, the big-hitting FSU product put his foot on the gas on the back nine coming in to make this a runaway. His total game was never more apparent than on the 15th hole, which was playing as the hardest on the course on Sunday. It’s not the longest hole and one that mitigated Koepka’s distance advantage. On Sunday, it was set up at just 356 yards but was averaging a mean 4.51 scoring average.

Birdies were nowhere to be found on this hole, but sitting on a multi-shot advantage, Koepka maneuvered his way around it and posted another red number to effectively clinch the U.S. Open. His tee shot went just 209 yards — it looked like it juuust got to the start of the fairway. Then, from 150 yards, Koepka sent it right over the flag, dropping it within 10 feet on a green where players were struggling to get close. He converted the birdie putt to gain a huge advantage on the field at the toughest spot on the course, locking up his first major.

That got Koepka to 15-under and with other world class talents such as Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, and Tommy Fleetwood failing to make noise on Sunday, this became his. The only drama was if he’d become the first ever to finish at 17-under in a U.S. Open. Rory McIlroy got to that number before finishing at 16-under at Congressional in 2011. Koepka got there on the 16th, a par-3 that also didn’t accentuate his power advantage. There, he showed off again with the putter. This one came from 17 feet and with a lot of break.

That made it academic, despite Harman’s best efforts to keep up. Harman did not fade or choke at all in what presented a totally new challenge in 20 mph winds compared to the first three favorable scoring days at Erin Hills.

The putts and strategy were nice, but on the last, the longest hole on the course, Koepka decided to remind us all of that absurd pop he does have. With birdie or even eagle as a possibility to get to 17-under and pass Rory’s mark, Koepka nuked one 379 yards.

Koepka can be a bit of a nothing-burger in interviews but it’s not because he lacks personality. He just doesn’t like to give you much and that’s the best way he’s found to be successful — never showing much emotion on the course or in any interviews. But he’s definitely got some edge, a guy who gives little effs and is bristling beneath.

There will be a compulsion to talk about nothing but Koepka’s power and his status as a “bomber” in the game. And he is that. But he’s got talent throughout the bag, showing it over four days at Erin Hills to win the national championship. His name may be lesser-known to a wider audience but it’s a win that shocks no one who follows the game and one that could be a sign of more to come.