Brooks Koepka was outstanding in winning the US Open, his first Major Championship, last night. Coming to Europe and focusing on the Challenge Tour is not for everyone, but it has been a wonderful experience for me personally.
The long-hitting Florida native travelled far and wide, from Kazakhstan to Kenya and mainland Europe, cramming into bed and breakfast rooms with fellow players, spending some nights sleeping in cars, and learning about life and how to win.
"I don't think I hit a fairway from the tenth and you can not play this golf course if you are not in position off the tee", said McIlroy, the 2011 US Open champion, who was returning after recovering from a rib injury.
China's Li Haotong was 10-over-par for the day through 14 holes while more experienced contenders such as England's Lee Westwood were also struggling.
Undeterred, Koepka shot rounds of 69 and 65 to win the qualifier and book his place at Muirfield, where he and Dustin Johnson - the man he would later succeed as US Open champion - played Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler in one of the game's most competitive practice round matches.
"I felt like I've been playing pretty well all week, and didn't have quite the numbers to show for it".
"I think it's awesome", Niebrugge said. "I just couldn't stand the fact that I'd only won once".
Who knows what might have happened but for his first round of 74?
"I mean there's probably not that much that's that interesting, to be honest".
The low point didn't last, however, as he went on to the European Tour and won the 2014 Turkish Airlines Open, followed by the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open on the PGA Tour. I remember that the Game originally came with two Golf Courses with more expansions to come.
"I needed to make that if I was going to win this tournament", he said.
"I feel like I can go a long way", he says.
His friends and professional support team preached patience. Koepka is fifth with 1,534 and is now 736 points behind Dustin Johnson for the read.
"I've worked my tail off over the last six months, made some changes, from grinding every day in the gym, trying to make sure that I was physically ready and strong enough to be able to swing the club the way I wanted to", he said.
This week, he received pep talks from swing coach Claude Harmon III, short-game coach Pete Cowen and world No. 1 Johnson, last year's victor.
"I just want to go home". "Just don't get ahead of yourself", the laconic Koepka added.
He opened with two straight birdies, drained a 41-footer for birdie on the eighth, bogeyed the 10th and made what he called a "massive par save" on 13.
Thomas and Harman will be paired together in the final group on Sunday during the final round. "And to win on the European Tour in Turkey".
"For all the hours you put in and to think back about being on the Challenge Tour when four guys are packed into a little vehicle". It's pretty cool. I'd love to get a map and just look at all the places I've won. My timing was just a little bit off.