Defending champ Koepka leads US Open, Fleetwood fires 63

Brooks Koepka of the United States walks up the first green

Southampton (United States) (AFP) – Defending champion Brooks Koepka was clinging to a one-shot lead as he made the turn at the US Open on Sunday, where Tommy Fleetwood put the pressure on with a final-round 63.

Koepka was two-under for the day and one-over for the tournament after three birdies and a bogey in the first nine holes.

On a day when the US Golf Association took the edge off Shinnecock Hills after scores soared on Saturday, Fleetwood became just the sixth golfer to post a 63 in the US Open.

Fleetwood’s eight birdies included four in a row starting at the 12th.

He had a good look at birdie at the par-four 18th, but he couldn’t get his nine-foot putt to drop, unable to join Branden Grace as the only players to shoot 62 in a major championship.

South Africa’s Grace accomplished the feat at the British Open last year.

“I wanted a 62,” Fleetwood said, but he admitted he couldn’t be disappointed in his effort. “I made so many good putts today.”

Although he started the day six off the lead, Fleetwood said he thought he was still in the running.

“I just needed a good start,” he said. “We knew they would have made it a bit softer today and looking at the pins you knew they were more accessible.”

When he birdied four of his first seven holes, Fleetwood said, “It was game on.”

On the course, Masters champion Patrick Reed was two-over through nine holes, storming up the board with five birdies in his first seven holes before a bogey at the ninth.

World number one Dustin Johnson, who started the day tied for the lead with Koepka, Tony Finau and Daniel Berger on three-over, opened with four straight pars before his first birdie at the par-five fifth.

After a bogey and another birdie he was sharing second with Fleetwood and Reed at two-over.

Berger and Finau, playing in the last group, had both slipped back to five-over through eight.