WHITE HOUSE – The White House is defending an impromptu prayer session in the Oval Office this week. On Monday, President Trump met with evangelical members of his faith advisory board. At the end of their Oval Office session, members laid hands on the president and prayed for him. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders dismissed […]
Koepka in control and with a 1-shot lead at US Open
ERIN, Wis. (AP) — Brooks Koepka had a birdie putt on every hole and made three of them to build a one-shot lead after nine holes Sunday in the U.S. Open.
Brian Harman was doing everything he could to stay with him, calming himself after a rocky start and playing bogey-free to stay in range in a final round where the wind finally showed up.
The gusts tapered off from the morning, but they still were making Erin Hills play more difficult than it had all week.
It just wasn’t enough to faze Koepka. He got off to the ideal start with a two-putt birdie on the par-5 first and a tee shot just short of the green on the 338-yard second hold, leading to a simple up-and-down for another birdie. Koepka finally took the lead with a 35-foot birdie putt on No. 8.
He was at 14-under par at the turn.
Justin Thomas, coming off his record-tying 63, and Tommy Fleetwood were starting to fade.
Thomas failed to make a birdie on the front nine. He missed the second green with a sand wedge, and he missed a short par putt on No. 4 after he thought he nearly chipped in, only for the wind to blow the ball back some 4 feet. He was six shots back at the turn.
Fleetwood went long at the par-3 sixth hole, and his chip was so strong that it ran off the front of the green, leading to one of his three bogeys on the front nine as he fell four shots behind.
Still hanging around was Rickie Fowler, who made 15-foot birdie putts on both par 5s to atone for some wild driving early on in which he had to scramble for pars. He was three behind.
Hideki Matsuyama, meanwhile, ran off three birdies on five holes to start the back nine and was within two shots of the lead.
Two things appeared likely. There would be another first-time major champion at the U.S. Open, and the winning score would be at double digits under par for the third time in U.S. Open history.
Only six players had ever reached 10-under par at any point in a U.S. Open in the 116 previous championships. Seven players already have reached 10 under or better this week — Koepka, Harman, Thomas, Fleetwood, Fowler, Charley Hoffman and Matsuyama.
Hoffman stayed there for the shortest time. After reaching 10 under through seven holes, he muffed two wedges and made triple bogey on his next hole.
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