Brooks Koepka’s U.S. Open Journal, Day 5: Wrapping up a special week

Everyone knows the stars in U.S. Open field: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson ... the names roll off our tongue with ease. But what about Brooks Koepka? He might not be a household name just yet, but the up-and-coming golfer has a chance to make some noise this week at the U.S. Open.

Koepka, a three-time All-American at Florida State University, will be making his first major championship start this week at Olympic Club, after qualifying at the U.S. Open sectional in Florida. (Side note: He beat 14-year-old Andy Zhang in a playoff.)

He'll be writing all week for Devil Ball about his first U.S. Open experience. (You can also follow Brooks on Twitter at @BKoepka.)

SAN FRANCISCO — Competitive golf teaches you a lot about yourself.  Just when you think you have everything figured out on the range, you go out on the course and struggle with your game ... and you end up starting the whole process over again.

That pretty much sums up how this week went. I learned a lot about myself and my game this week. Even though I missed out on the weekend, I still had an awesome time playing in my first U.S. Open.

It was an experience that certainly exposed some weaknesses in my game. For instance, I usually hit a fade off the tee, but for some reason I was hitting a draw this week, which kind of messed me up. Needless to say, with the way Olympic Club was playing, it wasn't the best time to struggle off the tee.

I also had some issues with my speed on the greens and never really got the ball to the hole, so I'll probably go spend some time on the putting green when I get home.

Quite honestly, if missing the cut at the U.S. Open doesn't fire you up to get out and work on your game, then you shouldn't be playing golf at this level. This week is going to make me work that much harder to get back there and redeem myself.

Friday's round had the potential to be a memorable one, but I just couldn't get anything going early on. I was 2-over after my first six holes, but I probably should have been about 1-under. When you can't take advantage of opportunities when they're presented to you, you're going to pay for it later on.

I knew the U.S. Open would be a grueling test, but I had no idea how difficult it would really be. It's such a mental grind. You're going to find trouble out here; it's only a matter of time. But you have to stay patient and realize everyone on the course feels the same way you do.

Conditions-wise, Olympic Club was the toughest course I've ever played. The closest I ever got to this experience was Chambers Bay during the 2010 U.S. Amateur, but the two courses are obviously very different.

With my U.S. Open week coming to a close, I'm going to head back to Florida and pack my stuff up to go see my girlfriend in Sweden, and then get ready to play the Challenge Tour in Europe. I think I may also get a European Tour start as well, but I won't find out for sure until Tuesday.

The goal is to hopefully play well enough to earn my European Tour card via Q-School. But we'll have to see what happens. Overall, the U.S. Open was an incredible experience. I know I still have a lot to work on, but just having the opportunity to play in a major championship is something I'll remember for the rest of my life.

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