Erin Hills, Wisconsin: Brian Harman was left struggling to come to terms with his US Open defeat on Sunday after stumbling down the stretch in his final round battle with Brooks Koepka.
The 30-year-old journeyman had missed the cut at four straight majors heading into this year’s championship at Erin Hills, and had arrived in Wisconsin with little expectation of victory.
After beginning the final round with a one-shot lead, the world No. 50 looked to be edging closer to a fairytale win as he moved to the turn without dropping a shot.
But his hopes of victory evaporated when back-to-back bogeys which coincided with a trio of Koepka birdies left him with too much ground to make up.
“It bites a little bit right now,” Harman remarked. “I had a couple get away from me yesterday. I was playing so good and just missed a couple putts.”
Harman said the pivotal moment had been Koepka’s birdie charge.
“That was kind of lights out,” he said. “I was pretty content making pars on the front nine because I knew the kind of day it was.
“I mean, you’ve got to tip your cap. He went and won the golf tournament on the back nine. I’ve done it before, but he did it today.”
Yet while praising Koepka’s superb finish, Harman acknowledged that defeat was hard to take, brushing off suggestions that it offered encouragement for the future.
“My first response to that is I don’t believe in moral victories,” he said. “I had an opportunity today and I didn’t get it done.
“But at the same time, I don’t feel as though I lost a golf tournament. I think Brooks went out and won the tournament. I’m just going to keep trying to do what I’m good at and keep doing what I know how to do and we’ll see where that takes me.”
Harman, however, appeared to suggest that the clock was ticking on his chances of winning a major.
“When I was a young junior golfer, I definitely perceived myself contending in majors,” he said.
“Not that I’m an old man by any means, but I’m 30. So for me, I feel like I am trying to make up for some time lost.
“I don’t know why I feel that way, but that’s just kind of the way I feel.”