Brooks Koepka came very close to winning his third straight US Open title at Pebble Beach on Sunday, but he had to give credit to Gary Woodland for holding him off.
The World No 1 has been a destructive force in major championships in recent years, winning four of the last eight, including two straight US Opens.
And after bursting out of the gate with a string of birdies on Sunday it seemed like he was destined for yet another.
But Koepka’s challenge would falter on the back nine as Gary Woodland responded with impressive birdies at 14 and 18 to hold the defending champion off.
“It wasn’t meant to be this week,” said Koepka, who ultimately closed with a three-under-par 68 to finish three strokes behind the champion.
“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 realised 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).”
Faced with a nine-footer for birdie at the 18th, Koepka had an outside chance of still forcing a play-off if he could hole it, but it missed by mere millimetres to bring his challenge to an end.
As it turned out, Woodland would hole a 30-footer for birdie at the last to render that putt a moot point, but it certainly would have hurt Koepka at the time.
“I felt like I had a good read on it and it just dove right across the front,” said Koepka, who was quick to give credit to Woodland for his performance.
“Hat’s off to him. He deserves it, he’s worked hard and I’m very happy for him.”
Koepka will have once more chance to add to his bulging major trophy cabinet in next month’s Open Championship at Royal Portrush.
“I’ve never been to Ireland, but my caddie (Ricky Elliott), it’s his hometown, so I’m looking forward to it,” he added.
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