PINEHURST, N.C. – Erik Compton and Brooks Koepka came up short in their bids to win the U.S. Open, but they each left Pinehurst No. 2 with a pretty decent consolation prize.
Compton, who tied for second behind Martin Kaymer, and Koepka, who tied for fourth, will both receive invites to the 2015 Masters as a result of their top-four finishes this week.
Compton had to survive a 5-for-3 playoff at a sectional qualifier in Columbus just to earn a spot in this week’s field, but he made the most of his opportunity. He carded a 2-over 72 in the final round to finish runner-up alongside Rickie Fowler and will make his Masters debut next year at age 35.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Compton, whose only other major start was a missed cut at the 2010 U.S. Open. “I won’t really know the significance of what I’ve accomplished until I sit back and maybe watch the tapes and enjoy it.”
Koepka birdied the 18th hole to post a final-round 71 and finish the week at 1 over. He knew at the time that he had earned a top-five finish, but wasn’t aware that he had moved into a tie for fourth after signing his card, punching a ticket to his first Masters in the process.
“The news just keeps on getting better and better,” he said, when told that he was headed to Augusta next spring.
One year after playing on the Challenge Tour in Europe, the 24-year-old has already earned special temporary membership on the PGA Tour, but his result this week earned him full playing privileges in the U.S. for the 2014-15 season.
“It’s crazy. I mean, I can’t even wrap my head around what I’ve done, really,” said Koepka, who tied for third at the season-opening Frys.com Open while playing on a sponsor exemption. “It’s been fun. A lot of hard work that seems to be paying off.”
In addition to the Masters, both Compton and Koepka can book travel for Chambers Bay next year, as they are exempt into the 2015 U.S. Open by virtue of finishing inside the top 10 this week.