Shane Lowry won The Open, but Brooks Koepka won the majors

PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland — The golf gods finally found a way to slow down Brooks Koepka in a major championship — heavy rain, 35-mph wind gusts and a final-round pairing with J.B. Holmes, one of the most notoriously slow players on the PGA Tour.Despite that trifecta — and Koepka’s inability to make much of anything on the greens of Royal Portrush Golf Club this week — he still managed to finish in a tie for fourth place at the 148th Open on Sunday.After opening the final round with four consecutive bogeys — he had four bogeys in the first three rounds combined — he shot 3-over 74 and finished 6-under par, 9 shots behind winner Shane Lowry.”I didn’t make anything,” Koepka said. “Good putts just missed the hole. It’s frustrating. There’s nothing I can do, though. Sometimes, you’ve just got to live with it.”While Lowry, an Irishman, might have won the first Open played on Irish soil in 68 years, Koepka won the majors this season.It was the fifth straight major championship in which Koepka finished in the top five, including all four this year. He finished tied for second at the Masters in April, won the PGA Championship for the second straight year at Bethpage Black in May and finished solo second at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in June.Koepka is only the fifth player to accomplish that feat in the Masters era (since 1934); Jack Nicklaus (1971 and ’73), Tiger Woods (2000 and ’05), Rickie Fowler (2014) and Jordan Spieth (2015) were the others.”As a whole, it’s awesome,” Koepka said. “That’s what I’m striving to do — to play well in the big events. I sort of did that. This week is disappointing, but the rest of them have been great. I’m not going to lie: it’s been fun. I would have liked to just have made a few more [putts] and finished it off with a bunch of second places.”Given the way Koepka started on Sunday, it’s remarkable that he was able to get back into the top five. He started the day at 9-under and 7 shots behind Lowry. After four holes, he was 4 over for his round and 11 shots behind the Irishman.”I warmed up fine,” Koepka said. “I just hit four of the worst shots I’ve probably hit all week.”Koepka quickly recovered with an eagle 2 on the par-4 fifth hole by driving the green and sinking a 5-footer. He made the turn at 2-over 38, and then had a bogey on the par-4 11th.That’s when Holmes’ slow pace seemed to get under Koepka’s skin. Holmes started the day at 10 under, but he was 5 over on the front nine. Then he had a triple-bogey 7 on 11 and a double-bogey 7 on 12.While Holmes was spending extra time reading his double-bogey putt on No. 11, Koepka turned his back and wiped his face in apparent frustration.”I’m ready to go most of the time,” Koepka said. “That’s what I don’t understand. When it’s your turn to hit, your glove is not on, then you start thinking about it, that’s where the problem lies. It’s not that he takes that long. He doesn’t do anything until his turn. That’s the frustrating part. But he’s not the only one that does it out here.”On the par-5 12th hole, Holmes hit his second shot into bushes on the right side of the green. He took an unplayable lie and tried to chip off trampled grass. His ball rolled back down the false front of the green. He putted onto the green and needed two more putts for double-bogey.While walking off the No. 12 green, according to Golf Channel’s Will Gray, Koepka looked at a rules official and pointed at a nonexistent watch on his hand, apparently indicating to the official that Holmes was playing slow.Koepka said he didn’t remember the incident after his round.Holmes shot 16-over 87, which dropped him from third place at the start of the round to a tie for 67th at 6 over.Holmes declined to speak to reporters after the round.”He had a rough day, but J.B. is a slow player,” Koepka said. “I know it’s difficult with the wind, but I didn’t think he was that bad [with the pace on Sunday]. I thought he was alright. … It was slow, but it wasn’t that bad for his usual pace.”There were some times when I thought it was slow. There are a lot of slow guys out here. That’s not the first one I’ve been with it, especially when you’ve got a walking official with you.”It was the second time in the final round of a major this year that Koepka was paired with a player who struggled mightily. In the PGA Championship, Harold Varner III shot 11-over 81.Koepka has been one the most vocal critics of slow play on the PGA Tour.”The European Tour does an unbelievable job with the pace of play, posting it in the locker rooms. The PGA doesn’t do that,” he said.While The Open didn’t end the way Koepka had hoped, his tie for fourth continued one of the truly remarkable runs in PGA Tour history. He has been the most consistent player in majors, finishing in the top 10 in 18 of the last 19 rounds in major championships. He shot in the 60s in 11 of 16 rounds in major championships this season, joining Spieth (2015) for second most in the Masters era. Only Woods (12 in 2000) had more in majors in a single season.”What he’s done in the last four major championships has been just unbelievable,” Woods said. “To be so consistent, so solid. He’s been in contention to win each and every major championship.”

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