‘Phenomenal’ and ‘mind-blowing’ – Koepka basks in US PGA triumph

US PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka

Brooks Koepka revelled in back-to-back US PGA Championship titles, which came despite a back-nine collapse.

Brooks Koepka described his major streak as “phenomenal” and “mind-blowing” after the new world number one retained his US PGA Championship trophy.

Koepka became the first man to win both the U.S. Open and US PGA titles back-to-back following Sunday’s victory in New York, despite a back-nine collapse and final-round 74.

The American star bogeyed five of his final eight holes as his seven-shot lead was reduced to just one, however, he managed to keep his composure and prevail by two strokes ahead of Dustin Johnson.

It was Koepka’s fourth major triumph in eight appearances and the 29-year-old revelled in the achievement – with his haul of victories only bettered by Phil Mickelson (five) and Tiger Woods (15) among active players.

“Phenomenal. I think that’s a good word,” Koepka told reporters as he described his winning run. “It’s been a hell of a run. It’s been fun. I’m trying not to let it stop. It’s super enjoyable, and just try to ride that momentum going into Pebble [Beach]. I think that’s four of eight, I like the way that sounds.”

It has been an incredible rise for Koepka, who was a shot adrift heading into the final round of the 2017 U.S. Open. He went on to claim his breakthrough major that tournament – triggering a wave of success in majors.

“It’s been incredibly quick, I know that,” Koepka said during his news conference. “It’s been so much fun these last two years, it’s pretty close to two years. It’s incredible. I don’t think I even thought I was going to do it that fast. I don’t think anybody did, and to be standing here today with four majors, it’s mind-blowing.

“Today was definitely the most satisfying out of all of them for how stressful that round was; how stressful DJ made that. I know for a fact, that was the most excited I’ve ever been in my life ever there on 18.”

Johnson was hot on Koepka’s tail in Sunday’s final round – bogeys at the 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th amid rising winds opening the door for the 2016 U.S. Open champion but Koepka always felt in control.

“I felt like I was playing good,” said Koepka, who leapfrogged Johnson atop the rankings. “I just made mistakes at the wrong time. This golf course, that whole stretch, from seven to 13, you’ve got to hit good drives. I put it in the rough. You’re going to have a lot of short par looks.

“I challenge anybody to go play this golf course in 15- to 20-mile-an-hour winds and see what they shoot. DJ played a hell of a round. That was pretty good. This golf course, it will test you for sure.”

Asked if he worried that he would fail, Koepka replied: “It was definitely a test. I never thought about failing. I was trying my butt off. If I would have bogeyed all the way in, I still would have looked at it as I tried my hardest. That’s all I can do. Sometimes that’s all you’ve got. Even if I would have lost, I guess you could say choked it away. I tried my tail off just to even make par and kind of right the ship.

“But I never once thought about it. I always felt like once I had the lead, he’s going to make one more birdie and I’ve got to make a bogey for this thing to kind of switch. I think hitting 15 tee shot down the middle of the fairway definitely kind of helped ease a little bit of the tension, knowing that that pin was kind of in a gettable spot but then hit a terrible wedge shot. I don’t know how you miss that slope, but I did.”

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