Under the most challenging conditions, the guy standing at the top, Brooks Koepka did what he needed to do to win his second US OPEN. Most people focused on his power and length off the tee, but the difference in the end was not his power, but his ability to get up and down and make critical par saving putts.
The reason I am writing about Brooks today is a what I feel was the key to his victory, which was not a saving par or a birdie he made, but the GREAT bogey he made on the 11th hole. He could have made a triple bogey easily there if he decided to try and make par. Once he assessed his position he knew that making a bogey would be a great score, and that even a double would not take him out of the hunt to win. He went long and into the bunker a made an amazing up and in for a bogey, that I am sure must of felt like a birdie to him.
The lesson here is to TAKE YOUR MEDICINE when you are out of position. I recently was playing in the NCGA Mid Am at Poppy Hills, and found myself in the lead in the last round going to the 7th hole. I hit a poor tee shot in the right bunker and then hit a fat second shot into the front bunker leaving me a very long sand shot. I got too aggressive and bladed the ball 30 yards over the green, and then quickly hit my next shot short, then long, and in the blink of an eye made a triple bogey 7. This didn’t take me out of the tournament, but it forced me to play the rest of the round from behind.
Ultimately I made mistake after mistake and finished with a 78 +7 and in 13th place, my worst finish of 2018. I have not touched a club in 9 days since that day, and I’ve been very disgusted at my mental toughness that day at Poppy Hills. Usually when in or around the lead, I make good decisions, and approach each shot with great intent. On this day for some reason I had nothing mentally.
You could see that once Brooks was in the ZONE, that he was the guy to beat, and while Dustin Johnson completely lost it with his putter, Brooks kept rolling in putt after putt. How do you putt under pressure? Are you better or worse under the heat. Do you ever practice putting with BIG PRESSURE on you, other than in tournaments?
YOU MUST TRY TO EMULATE THE PRESSURE WHEN PRACTICING. That is hard to do, but you need to re-create how the pressure may effect your stroke or body movement, and learn from it.