Welcome to the June Pro Golf Wrap-Up – everything you need to know in the world of golf expertly curated by your friends at Global Golf Management.
Brooks Koepka’s breakthrough victory in the U.S. Open at Erin Hills, with a record-tying 16-under 272 total, was the big news in the month of June, but across the board on both the PGA TOUR and the LPGA, it required no less than great golf to secure a victory.
Start with Jason Dufner’s win in the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide on June 4.
After setting the 36-hole tournament record at 14 under with a pair of 65s and opening a five-stroke lead – Dufner found himself trailing by four shots with 18 holes to play after cratering to a third-round 77. But the Cleveland native bounced back to calmly fire a 4-under-par 68 and a 13-under 275 total to win the Memorial by three strokes over Rickie Fowler and Anirban Lahiri at Muirfield Villager Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.
And he finished impressively to do it, playing the last four holes in 2 under par, including a 3-foot birdie on the par-4 17th when the green was as receptive as a frying pan and a 40-foot par save at 18 after the second of two brief weather delays.
“I always take a lot of pride in kind of being a fighter, trying to come back,” said Dufner, 40, who joined Tournament Founder and Host Jack Nicklaus as the only Ohio natives to win at Muirfield Village Golf Club. He became the first player since Sir Nick Faldo to shoot 77 or higher in the third round of a tournament and go on to win. Faldo did it in the 1989 Masters after carding a 77. Only Kenny Knox shot a higher third-round score in a non-major and won, carding an 80 in the 1986 Honda Classic.
The following week, Daniel Berger enjoyed a weekend to remember, rallying with rounds of 66-66 at TPC Southwind to successfully defend his title at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tenn. Berger, 24, outgunned a collection of players in a final-round shootout to end up at 10-under 270, one ahead of former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel and Whee Kim.
On Father’s Day, Keopka gave his father Bob the perfect gift, emerging from a logjam of contenders to win the 117th U.S. Open Championship in Wisconsin. With a final-round 5-under 67, Koepka overtook third-round leader Brian Harman and won his second PGA Tour title and first major.
Koepka, 27, completed 72 holes in 16-under 272 to defeat Harman and Hideki Matsuyama by four shots and equal Rory McIlroy’s scoring record in relation to par that the Ulsterman set in 2011 at Congressional Country Club. He pocketed a record $2.16 million and became the eighth champion in the last 11 years to make the U.S. Open his first major victory. In addition, he was the seventh straight first-time major winner dating to Jason Day at the 2015 PGA Championship.
“I felt like I was playing some of the best golf I’ve ever played,” said the Florida native, who entered the week ranked No. 22 in the world. “All around, my game was pretty solid.”
June ended with a bang. Jordan Spieth went wire to wire to win the Travelers Championship in his first start at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn., despite a final-round rally by his friend Berger, whose closing 67 caught Spieth at the tape at 12-under 268. Spieth, who opened the tournament with a 63, had an uneven 70 in the final round June 25.
But he ended things quickly in the playoff, holing out from a greenside bunker from 60 feet for birdie on the 18th hole to lock up his second win of the year and his 10th career PGA TOUR title, becoming only the second player after Tiger Woods to win 10 times before his 24th birthday.
“Just Jordan doing Jordan things,” Berger said, referring to Spieth’s bunker heroics, which where capped by a memorable victory celebration in which Spieth tossed his wedge out of the bunker left-handed and then executing a leaping chest-to-back bump with his caddie Michael Greller that certainly will be in the running for most memorable celebrations of the year.
On the LPGA Tour, In-Kyung Kim, Ariya Jutanugarn, Brooke Henderson and So Yeon Ryu were winners.
Kim’s final-round 69 on June 4 was enough to hold off Anna Nordqvist, who also shot 69, to capture the Shoprite LPGA Classic presented by Acer in Galloway, N.J. Kim finished at 11-under 202 for a two-stroke victory. Michelle Wie tied for third with a sterling final-round 65 at Stockton Seaview Golf Club.
Jutanugarn, 21, emerged from a three-way playoff with In Gee Chun and Lexi Thompson for her 10th career victory at the Manulife LPGA Classic in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada that was completed June 11. All three shot 17-under 271 at Whistle Bear Golf Club, but Jutanugarn emerged with the title after Thompson three-putted the last green, missing a four-footer to force extra holes. Amid blustery conditions, Jutanugarn, after closing with a 69, birdied the first extra hole to win. Chun shot a final-round 70 and Thompson carded a 72.
Henderson won the Meijer LPGA Classic June 18 for her fourth LPGA Tour title, holding off Wie and Thompson by two strokes in the weather-plagued event. The 19-year-old Henderson closed with a 66 Blythefield Country Club that was reduced to a par of 69 — the fifth hole was played as a par 3 instead of a par 5 — the final two rounds because of flooding. Wie finished with a 65, and Thompson had a 69.
Finally, Ryu wrapped up the month brilliantly, capturing the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship to become the LPGA’s first two-time winner in 2017 and take over the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Rankings. Ryu, who claimed the ANA Inspiration in a playoff against Lexi Thompson amid a controversial ruling that cost Thompson four shots, fired a course-record 61 in the second round at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Ark. She finished with a tournament record 18-under 195 total to beat Amy Yang and Moriya Jutanugarn by two shots.
Stay tuned here and on Global Golf Management Twitter for next month’s Pro Golf Wrap-Up.