PEBBLE BEACH, CA. (Reuters) - Brooks Koepka came close to winning a third consecutive U.S. Open on Sunday but while he had to settle for second place behind Gary Woodland the world number one was far from down on himself.
Koepka, seeking to become the first golfer in more than a century to win three straight U.S. Opens, was the last man standing to challenge Woodland at Pebble Beach.
He carded a three-under-par 68 to finish three strokes behind the champion.
“It wasn’t meant to be this week,” said Koepka.
“It was awesome to come this close to going three in a row.
“I didn’t really think about it until I was done on 18 and realized how close I actually was to, not making history, but kind of tying it, I guess you could say.
“It doesn’t sting. I played great. I gave it my all and sometimes, like this week, it’s not meant to be. And sometimes no matter how good your good is, it isn’t (enough).”
Koepka’s last realistic chance to force a playoff disappeared when his nine-foot birdie putt at the par-five 18th broke sharply to the right, missing by millimeters.
“I felt like I had a good read on it and it just dove right across the front,” he said.
Koepka, who finished at 10-under 274, gave credit to Woodland.
“Hat’s off to him. He deserves it, he’s worked hard and I’m very happy for him.”
As well as the 2017 and 2018 U.S. Opens, Koepka has won the past two PGA Championships, the latter only last month.
With a tie for second at the Masters in April he has finished no worse than second in the three majors played this year.
Though he was unable to match Scottish-born Willie Anderson, who won his first U.S. Open in 1901 and then reeled off three straight victories in ‘03, ‘04 and ‘05, Koepka has established himself as the ‘one to beat’ in men’s golf.
There is still one major left this year, the British Open at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland from July 18-21.
“I’ve never been to Ireland, but my caddie, it’s his hometown, so I’m looking forward to it,” he said.
Reporting by Steve Keating, Writhing by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Peter Rutherford