5 crazy numbers from an incredible week at Erin HillstheScore
A field of 156 players began play on Thursday at Erin Hills, and after four action-packed days, Brooks Koepka emerged victorious with his first career major championship.
It was an incredible week at the 117th U.S. Open, with records falling and the biggest payout in golf history going to Koepka at $2.16 million.
Here are the five craziest numbers from the season's second major:
Koepka's birdie putt on the par-3 16th gave him three in a row and dropped him to 16-under-par for the week, tying the U.S. Open record held by Rory McIlroy. After parring the 17th, Koepka held a three-stroke lead teeing off on 18 and took 3-wood to find the fairway. To most people the 3-wood is a conservative play, but Koepka absolutely melted a moon-ball 379 yards down the fairway, the longest drive of the hole on the day. He would go for the green in two, but his approach landed just short and rolled back near a bunker, giving him an awkward stance for his third. He would end up with a tap-in par to tie McIlroy's mark for excellence in the event.
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His name isn't on the trophy, but many people's lasting memory of the 117th U.S. Open will be Justin Thomas' third-round 63. The 9-under score broke Johnny Miller's record for lowest round in relation to par at the event, despite the previous holder's best attempts to dampen the feat. The best part about Thomas' accomplishment was undoubtedly his majestic 300-yard 3-wood to the 18th green, setting up the record-setting eagle putt.
The U.S. Open is known to be golf's toughest test, but enough rain fell around Erin Hills to soften up the course, leaving it rife for well-struck irons. Wind is the Wisconsin layout's best defense, but the first three days featured benign conditions that led to an all-out assault by the field. The final number of 31 players under-par is the most in the 117-year history of the event, and seven golfers finished 10-under or better, while only two players had ever previously held that mark.
Koepka's victory means it's now been seven straight first-time major winners on the PGA Tour. With no previous major winners within six strokes of the lead entering Sunday, this number was bound to happen regardless of who win. The last player to win a major that had already claimed one previously was Zach Johnson's 2015 win at The Open Championship. Interestingly enough, five of the previous six majors before Johnson's win had been claimed by players with one of golf's biggest tournaments already on their resume.
If it seemed that Koepka's ball-striking was bordering on legendary throughout the week, it's because it was. For the first time since the U.S. Open started tracking stats in 1981, the champion hit 80 percent of fairways and 80 percent of greens-in-regulation. Koepka's final numbers for Erin Hills were 49-of-56 fairways hit for a percentage of 88, and an astonishing 62-of-72 greens-in-regulation, finishing at 86 percent.
(Photos courtesy: Action Images)
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