ERIN, Wis. – On a leaderboard devoid of major championship victories, players are able to seek inspiration from a variety of sources. For Brooks Koepka, he need look back only as far as Hazeltine.
Koepka tied for fourth at the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, and he has finished T-21 or better in each of his last seven major starts. But as he heads into the final round at Erin Hills in a three-way tie for second, he’ll hope to draw mostly from his 3-1 performance as a Ryder Cup rookie last fall.
“The Ryder Cup helps. It’s kind of simple,” Koepka said. “I think that’s probably the most amount of pressure I’ve ever played in. When you look at that, you just kind of build off the experiences out there.”
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Koepka made five birdies en route to a third-round 68, and he will play alongside Tommy Fleetwood for the second straight round as they both look to chase down leader Brian Harman. It promises to be a pressure-packed environment during the final round, but Koepka insists it will pale in comparison to the level of nerves he faced on the first tee of his first Ryder Cup match.
“I was worried in Hazletine if the ball was going to fall off the tee, if I was actually going to be able to put it on if it fell off,” he said. “It’s one of those things, it’s just confidence. The more and more opportunities you get, you put yourself in that position, you feel a lot more comfortable.”