"Koepka's one fescue shot away from not winning", he said just before the eventual victor birdied the 16th, a 616-yard par 5. A year ago in Erin Hills, Koepka reached an unusual result of 16-under, and this year at Shinnecock Hills, he did remarkably well despite the course conditions.
Fleetwood must console himself with a cheque for $1.2m and a share of history.
Koepka is among the best of America's new golfers; powerful athletes who, due to their exceptional physical condition, could probably have made a career in any other sport.
England's 12th-ranked Fleetwood seized the opportunity to match the lowest round ever in the US Open with a brilliant seven-under 63 for a two-over total of 282. He did not know it but a play-off was also on the line.
"This is incredible. I don't think I could have dreamed of this, going back-to-back".
Daniel Berger and Tony Finau were the exceptions, each posting a 4-under 66 about the time Johnson was just starting out on greens that became so slick that Phil Mickelson swatted a ball that was still moving on the 13th green and no one in the final 22 groups broke par.
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Optus and SBS will both broadcast every game of the 2018 World Cup until the end of the group stage. We've created some very significant differentiation in what we've done with live streaming sports.
"It's easy to look at it and think I was one shy, but there's so many positives to look at and so much that you can take and learn from it". He had good opportunities at the 16th, 17th and 18th as well, his left-to-right curler on the last from just inside three metres just ducking under the hole and denying him a 62. To play alongside him, it was fun today.
But Koepka, playing in the penultimate group with close friend Johnson, kept his early momentum going with a crucial putt for a bogey on the 11th to limit his losses.
In all, Johnson took 14 more putts over the weekend than Koepka, who leads him with two major victories to one.
"It hasn't sunk in yet, " Koepka said afterward.
Reed fired five birdies in his first seven holes but cooled off coming in for a two-under 68.
It meant McIlroy missed the cut at the US Open for the third straight year.
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Koepka now joins Willie Anderson, John McDermott, Bobby Jones, Ralph Guhldal, Ben Hogan, and Curtis Strange as back-to-back winners of the U.S. Open.
"I don't know what it's like to repeat back-to-back years, but we do what we do for the glory, for the other people that talk about it. It was go out, play some solid golf, try to post a number and see if you can get the job done".
The scoring average of 75.33 was the highest for a third round in the U.S. Open since 2000 at Pebble Beach.
Finau, a victor at the 2016 Puerto Rico Open, said he wouldn't be trying to change his aggressive style despite some costly errors.
Finau finished the third round hoping he could enter Sunday within six strokes of the lead; more than that would be too far back, he figured. I just had a couple mistakes that compounded yesterday, and it didn't help that the course was playing the toughest it's played all week. He never complained about Shinnecock, at least publicly, even when it was crazy-tough on Saturday afternoon.
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