ERIN, Wis. -- Brooks Koepka won the U.S. Open in historic fashion.
Beginning the day a stroke behind Georgia's Brian Harman, Koepka shot 5-under 67 in Sunday's final round at Erin Hills to win his first major by four strokes.
He finished at 16-under for the tournament, tying the lowest 72-hole score relation to par in the tournament's history. Rory McIlroy set the record in 2011.
Koepka made three birdies on the back nine, including a beautiful putt on 16. He mastered the quick greens that surprised many throughout the weekend and handled the howling winds. His only bogey on the back nine for the entire tournament was on 10.
Harman, a University of Georgia graduate, went into Sunday leading and hoping to win his first major. But back-to-back bogeys on 12 and 13 caused him to slip while Koepka was surging ahead. He finished tied for second with Japan's Hideki Matsuyama who had the best round of the day.
"It bites a little bit right now. But Brooks played so well today. The conditions were so tough," Harman said. "I had an opportunity today and I didn't get it done. But at the same time, I don't feel as though I lost a golf tournament. I think Brooks went out and won the tournament."
Harman made par on every hole on the front nine except three where he birdied. After his consecutive bogeys, he birdied on the long par-5 14th hole, and again at 16. Any other day, it probably would have been enough to lift the Cup. He even called it his would-be heroics.
"If you had told me I was going to shoot 12-under this year at a U.S. Open and not win, I would have taken the bet for sure," he said.
Harman was born in Savannah, Georgia. He lives in Sea Island, Georgia with his wife and daughter.
He never made the cut at the U.S. Open since turning pro in 2009 until this year. Harman was a three-time 2nd team All-American at UGA. He was a stud as an amateur, winning the 2003 U.S. Junior Amateur, Players Amateur in 2005 and Porter Cup in 2007.
"When I was a young junior golfer, I definitely perceived myself contending in majors. Not that I'm an old man by any means, but I'm 30. So for me, I feel like I am trying to make up for some time lost," Harman said.
But Harman is playing the best golf of his career. And since there's a streak of seven first-timers winning the last seven majors, why couldn't he be next?
Harman is the third UGA golfer to finish 2nd at the U.S. Open, joining Chip Beck and Erik Compton.
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