Notable and Quotable in Round 4 of the 2017 U.S. Open
June 18, 2017 Erin, Wis. By Ron Driscoll, USGA
Hideki Matsuyama made a serious bid to become the first player from Japan to win the U.S. Open. (USGA/Jeff Haynes)

Brooks Koepka’s margin of victory (four strokes) was the largest in a major championship since Jordan Spieth in the 2015 Masters.

Koepka’s worst finish in his last eight majors is a tie for 21st in the 2016 Masters. He has four other top 10s besides his victory on Sunday: T-4, 2014 U.S. Open; T-4, 2016 PGA; T-5, 2015 PGA; T10, 2015 Open Championship.

Brooks Koepka is the seventh consecutive first-time winner of a major championship. He joins Jason Day, 2015 PGA; Danny Willett, 2016 Masters; Dustin Johnson, 2016 U.S. Open; Henrik Stenson, 2016 Open Championship; Jimmy Walker, 2016 PGA; Sergio Garcia, 2017 Masters.

Rickie Fowler, who tied for fifth, on the seventh consecutive first-time major champion: “I think it’s a great thing. It’s a lot of new blood, young guys. I’m not saying the older guys are out by any means, but I think we’re making our presence a little bit more known.”

The longest stretch without a playoff in the U.S. Open before the most recent streak was eight years (1976-1983). Sunday’s finish extended the current run to a record nine years (2009-2017).

Justin Thomas, who shot 75 on Sunday after a record-tying 63 the previous day: “I just didn’t have it today. Anytime you don’t win, it stings. But it made me feel a lot better seeing Brooks shoot 5-under. I would have had to play some pretty spectacular golf to catch him.”

Hideki Matsuyama, of Japan, who shot the day’s low round of 66 and tied for second: “If I learned anything, you’ve got to put four good rounds together. I played two good rounds. Hopefully in the future, in majors, I can play in the either the last or next-to-last group to give myself a better chance.”

Matsuyama’s 6-under final round moved him from a tie for 14th after Round 3 to co-runner-up. He joins Isao Aoki in notching the highest finish by a player from Japan in U.S. Open history. Aoki finished as runner-up, two strokes behind Jack Nicklaus in the 1980 U.S. Open at Baltusrol. There are three other top-10 finishes by players from Japan: Jumbo Ozaki (T-6, 1989), Tommy Nakajima (T-9, 1987), and Matsuyama (T-10, 2013).

Koepka’s win marks the third consecutive victory by a player from the United States (Jordan Spieth, 2015; Dustin Johnson, 2016). It is the first time since 1998-2000, when Lee Janzen, Payne Stewart and Tiger Woods prevailed, that Americans have won three in a row. International players have won eight of the past 14 U.S. Opens.

Wisconsin’s Steve Stricker, on Erin Hills as a U.S. Open host: “I asked some of the players and for the most part everybody seemed to like it. I’d like to see the fescue a little bit thinner and the fairways a little bit narrower, so it's not a full-shot penalty for hitting it in the fescue, but it’s going to be harder to hit the fairways.”

Brian Harman, who shot even-par 72 to tie for second: “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. That’s just kind of the way I feel.”

Scottie Scheffler finished as the low amateur at 1-under-par 287, in a tie for 27th. Cameron Champ, the only other amateur to make the cut, finished one stroke back at even-par 288, in a tie for 32nd. Champ led the field in driving distance over 72 holes, with an average of 337.3 yards.

The Round 4 scoring average of 73.93 was the highest of the week, nearly two strokes higher than in Round 3, when it was 72.02. The average for the four rounds combined was 73.2.

The par-4 third hole, which played from 484 to 516 yards, was the hardest hole for the week, averaging 4.29 strokes. The next-toughest was No. 4, which played from 399 to 456 yards and averaged 4.25 strokes.

The easiest hole for the week was the par-5 18th – even though it was stretched to 681 yards on Sunday, the second-longest hole in U.S. Open history behind No. 12 at Oakmont in 2016. It played to a 4.84 average for the week. The second-easiest hole was the par-4 second, which played to a 3.88 average.

Ron Driscoll is the manager of editorial services for the USGA. Email him at rdriscoll@usga.org.