It had the hallmarks of a classic contest – until Brooks Koepka put the foot down.
The American became the seventh consecutive first-time major championship winner when he saluted in the US Open today.
But the manner in which the 27-year-old pushed clear on the back nine to win by four with an equal tournament record total suggests it won’t be his last.
Australia’s hopes were earlier quickly extinguished when Marc Leishman made four consecutive bogeys from the fourth hole and another on the ninth.
The big Victorian fought hard on the back nine and three birdies enabled him to sign for a 75, one under in total and a share of 27th.
Hideki Matsuyama hinted he’d be a factor when he made three early birdies, but was still only eight under when he went to the 11th tee.
The rising Japanese superstar then poured in five back-nine birdies to send a scare into what had been shaping as a match play shootout between Koepka and Brian Harman with other overnight contenders flailing.
But, as Matsuyama’s closing birdie pulled him within one of the lead at -12, Koepka found overdrive.
A huge par saver on the 13th was immediately followed by exemplary birdie putts on the 14th, 15th and 16th to ultimately reach 16 under – the same final score as Rory McIlroy famously won with and shattered all US Open scoring records in 2011.
Harman hadn’t made a bogey all week on the back nine, but he made three with the noose of pressure tightening and his closing six on the long 18th dropped him back to a share of second with Matsuyama.
MORE TO COME …