Brooks Koepka insists his second major runner-up finish of the year doesn't sting: "I played great. Just wasn't meant to be this week."
Brooks Koepka has become an overwhelmingly dominant force in major championships over the past two and a half years, and showed it once more in his close run attempt at defending the U.S Open for a second time in a row.
The 2017 and 2018 champion already made history earlier this year when he became the first person to hold back-to-back U.S Open and US PGA Championship titles at the same time, and has now finished second at both the 2019 Masters and U.S Open.
He also made history, even without the final: Thanks to a final-round 68, Koepka became the first player to shoot in the 60s for all four rounds in the U.S Open and not win.
"It doesn't sting. I played great," Koepka said afterwards. "Nothing I could do. I gave it my all. I give it my all every time and sometimes, like this week -- it happened at Augusta -- it's not meant to be. I played great. I hit every shot that I wanted to. And sometimes no matter how good your good is it isn't there."
Although he started the day four shots behind champion Gary Woodland, Koepka got off to a fast start with four birdies in his first five holes, which also included a miraculous par-save at the second.
Woodland had two birdies of his own to keep the defecit at two shots, but the World No.1 would get to within one stroke on the back-nine after 12 holes.
Unfortunately for Koepka, he couldn't capitalise on any further chances, missing a birdie putt on the 18th that could have piled on pressure as he parred his way in.
"Well, at the time it felt significant," Koepka said of that putt on the final hole. "I felt like I had a good read on it. And it just seemed to just dove right across the front. Yeah, it just dove across the front. I felt like it was one of those putts if I hit firm it was never going to break. And I tried. I hit a good putt it just dove right across the front.
"Sometimes there's just nothing you can do. Of course I'd love to have it back. I thought it would be nice to put some pressure on him, one shot going into the last hole. I had no idea what was going on, but I'm pleased with it. Pleased with everything that happened."
In the end, a phenomenal par save on 17 and a huge birdie putt on 18 gave Woodland a three-shot victory, and Koepka was keen to take the positives.
"I played great," Koepka said. "Nothing I could do. Gary played a great four days. That's what you've got to do if you want to win a U.S. Open, win a major championship and hats off to him. Cool way to go out on 18, to make that bomb. He deserves it, he's worked hard and I'm happy for him.
"It was awesome to come this close to going three in a row. It's incredible. Anytime you can compete in a major is special and to have a chance to go back-to-back-to-back, that was pretty cool.
"I didn't really think about it until I was done on 18 and realized how close I actually was to kind of, I guess, not making history, but kind of tying it, I guess you could say. But it's a cool feeling to know. Just wasn't meant to be this week."
Koepka will be aiming to continue his impressive major run next month at Portrush, and although he's never played there or been to Ireland, he has a pretty good secret weapon: The Open is taking place in his caddie's hometown.
"I've never been to Ireland. But my caddie, it's his hometown, so I'm looking forward to it."