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Koepke talks about his US Open triumph


Brooks Koepke, the 27-year-old Amerian who won the 117th US Open on Sunday admitted that he didn't always believe that his decision to begin his professional career in Europe was the right one.

After being a College star at the University of Florida the athletic young six-footer kicked things off in Europe's second league Challenge Tour and although he won four titles there before graduating to the European Tour where he would win two more titles including the important 2014 Turkish Airlines Open, there was a time when he hated being away from his home, his family and his friends and told his manager he was ready to quit the tour and go home

"There was a low point. Right before I won the final Challenge Tour event that got me into the European Tour. And I think it was the night of the third round," Koepka told reporters after his US Open triumph on Sunday.

"I called him and I was like, I don't even want to play anymore. I just want to go home. I was kind of - I don't want to say homesick - I was just tired of golf. Tired of travelling. I just wanted to be home, even though I think I had the lead at that point and was about to win a third title

In the end, Koepke stuck to his guns went on from that low point to his wins on the European Tour and from there on to his first triumph on the US PGA Tour, this in the Phoenix Open in Arizona

A fourth place finish at the 2014 US Open gave him some experience in what it might take to win a major and took him to No 19 in the world.

Three more top 10 finishes followed, including a tie for 4th at last year's PGA and they helped give him the determination last week not to let his latest opportunity skip away.

"I felt like I had put myself in contention so many times and I don't want to say I got unlucky because I felt like I just never fully came together. I put myself in some good chances over the majors over the last few years and never really quite came through.

Another factor, he believes, that had helped him make his major breakthrough in Wisconsin last week was the fact that he had played a leading role for the US Ryder Cup team that finally won back some honour last year after a string of defeats to Europe.

"I think the Ryder Cup was kind of the first real taste of true pressure I think I've ever felt," Koepka said.

In addition to all this, Koepke disclosed, was the help and encouragement he had received from his good friend Dustin Johnson, the World No 1 and 2016 US Open champion but one of the many big guns who missed the cut this year.

Johnson called him after Saturday's third round and told him: "Just stay patient. Just keep doing what you're doing, you're going to win the thing, and just don't get ahead of yourself," Koepka remembers Johnson saying during "a long phone call."

On his equalling Rory McIlroy's record for the lowest ever US Open total with his 16-under tally, Koepke said:

"I didn't know about the record when I was walking up the fairway on the final hole. I wish now that I'd have gotten an up and down on 18, I know that" he joked.

"It would have been nice. But it's still a pretty cool accomplishment."

Neville Leck

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