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Tuesday, 12 June 2018
Brooks Koepka  (Getty Images)
Brooks Koepka (Getty Images)

Brooks Koepka insists he is fully recovered from the wrist injury that saw him miss four months of the season and ready to mount the defence of his US Open title.

The American triumphed by four shots at Erin Hills last season for his first Major Championship win but a wrist injury sidelined him for four months and his last European Tour appearance was a tie for second at the WGC-HSBC Champions in October.

The 28 year old did not play any events at all between the first week in January and the last week in April and he admits that gaining weight and boredom saw him hit some of the lowest points in his golfing career.

He is now back to full health, however, and with a handful of appearances in his homeland under his belt, the 2014 Turkish Airlines Open champion has just one thing on his mind.

“The only reason I'm here is to win,” he said. “If I wasn't, I wouldn't have signed up. I think everyone here is trying to win, everyone thinks they're going to win and they should. When you come to a golf tournament, you're preparing to win. You're not going to be satisfied with second place.

The only reason I'm here is to win. If I wasn't, I wouldn't have signed up - Brooks Koepka

“I'm looking forward to this week, I'm playing well. I feel like I always play well at US Opens. I play very conservative, middle of the greens a lot of times and I feel like Major Championships are kind of where I shine.”

He added: “You go from playing some of the best golf I've probably ever played to probably being at the lowest point professionally that I've been. It wasn't easy.

“We knew about the wrist injury a little bit longer than we told people but I knew it was bugging me and just couldn't quite figure out what it was. Thankfully, we've got it situated now where I'm 100 per cent past it but, I'll tell you what, it was a long four months. It wasn't anything I'd wish upon anybody.”

Koepka replaced Dustin Johnson as US Open champion and his fellow American arrives at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club having just returned to World Number One with a win on the US PGA Tour last week.

The 33 year old missed the cut in defence of his title last season but had top fives in 2014 and 2015 at this event.

He is itching to now claim a second Major title and thinks he knows what the key will be to victory this week.

“I'd love to get that second one,” he said. “But it's one of those things where everything's got to work well for four days.

“I feel like right now, my game's in very good shape. I feel like I've got a lot of confidence in it and I feel like I can play this golf course well. And then, you know, it definitely would be awesome to get my second Major.”

He added: “I can hit driver on a lot of holes, so it's definitely an advantage if I can hit it in the fairway.

“It's all about the second shot. You've really got to hit good second shots into these greens. Some of the greens are big but the surface area where you want to hit your ball is small. So you've got to hit good golf shots. If you miss it in the wrong spot you have a very, very tough time getting it up and down.”

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1KOEPKA, BrooksUSA181
2FLEETWOOD, TommyENG182
3JOHNSON, DustinUSA183
4REED, PatrickUSA184
5FINAU, TonyUSA185
T6SCHAUFFELE, XanderUSA186

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