King of the Hills

Brooks Koepka, one of the biggest hitters in the game, brought the longest U.S. Open venue to it’s knees.

A view of the flag on the 18th featuring Arnold Palmer at Erin Hills

Koepka completed his transition from a calm and confident player with plenty of potential to a bona fide star who didn’t blink when the game’s most demanding test finally arrived on Day 4. Beyond that calm exterior and limitless power, Koepka didn’t come to the PGA Tour with untold fanfare or enjoy immediate and unqualified success.

Instead, he forged a much different path, starting out on the European Challenge Tour, the Continent’s version of the second-tier circuit, before moving onto the European Tour. He played tournaments in far-flung places like Kazakhstan and had to have extra pages put into his passport at one point because of his extensive travels. And most importantly he learned his trade.

“I kept telling people last year after the Ryder Cup when Brooks figures out how good he is, he's going to be a world-beater,” said Brandt Snedeker, who tied for ninth (8-under 280).

Perhaps all he needed was the right venue with generous fairways, just like Erin Hills that fit Koepka’s game.

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