Brooks Koepka, a strapping Floridian with wowing golf talent, a cool disposition, an athlete's cocksure gait and a two-year place at the fringe of the bright lights, surged from that fringe on a blustery Sunday at Erin Hills.
Koepka became the seventh straight first-time victor of a major championship, and it was the first time since 1998-2000 that Americans won their national championship three straight years. "Yeah, I don't get those very often", Stricker said. But it made me feel a lot better seeing Brooks shoot 5-under. Obviously, the wind picked up and I felt like that played right in my hand, and I felt confident all week.
Matsuyama did his best to back-door his way into contention, shooting 6-under 66 to shoot up the leaderboard after starting the day six strokes off the lead.
After his birdie at 14, Koepka wasn't aware of Harman's bogey back at 13. He followed that up with birdies on the next three holes.
The rest of the field had started to back up. I mean, you've got to tip your cap.
One night in Scotland, he called his agent and wanted to come home, even though he was leading the tournament. It was an accomplishment that wasn't lost on golf's newest major champion, even if his father and other family members weren't in attendance at Erin Hills on Sunday and missed one of Koepka's appearances at a major for the first time.
Players are on the course for the final round of the U.S. Open in blustery conditions at Erin Hills.
One by one the contenders dropped off Sunday afternoon.
Koepka raced out the blocks with birdies at the first and second to hit the front on his own and never looked back.
Koepka, South Korea's Kim Si-woo, Japan's Hideki Matusyama, Englishman Tommy Fleetwood and Americans Brian Harman and Rickie Fowler were the names battling for major glory on Sunday, rather than the likes of Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink and Ernie Els.
SEE YA NEXT YEAR: Qualifiers Xander Schauffele and Trey Mullinax finished in the top 10 and get an automatic entry into next year's U.S. Open. "And I built a lot of confidence off of that".
HARMAN: No, I don't think there's - I think most of the good players don't really compare themselves to their peers.
"Like you do at any one of these things, if you had to do it over, you'd make a few alterations", Davis said on the Fox Sports telecast Sunday morning, "but a great start to a golf course that's only a dozen years old".
Coming into this round four with a crowded field at the top of the leaderboard, Koepka, like a thoroughbred in the final straight, chose to pull away, making three birdies in a row on the back nine to leave the rest of the competition behind.
At No. 15, the risky short par 4, he attacked a back-right pin, and netted another birdie. Jordan Spieth, who shot his lowest round (69) of the championships on the tournament's windiest day, said he wouldn't mind seeing the event return to Erin Hills.
"It was kind of bombs away", Koepka told Curtis Strange after his win.
A beautifully controlled chip allowed him to tap in for birdie on 14, and after giving one back on 15, he leaned on the short stick to get within striking distance of second place on the 16th.
By virtue of his victory, Koepka claimed $2 million of the tournament's $12 million total purse.
The long hitters are taking over the world of professional golf.
A three-time All American at Florida State, Koepka took the unusual route of starting his career on the European tour.
And when he completed his hat-trick from 16 feet on the 16th, all that was left to decide was whether he would equal or break McIlroy's record.