Koepka’s U.S. Open victory caps amazing stretch for Patriot All-America Invitational alumni

When Brooks Koepka tapped-in his putt for par to win the 117th U.S. Open at Erin Hills, it not only gave the 27 year-old his first major championship, but also completed an incredible stretch of play by Patriot All-America Invitational alumni.  Two weeks earlier (over Memorial Day Weekend), 2015 Patriot All-America champion and University of Mississippi junior, Braden Thornberry won the NCAA individual golf championship. What’s more, three 2016 Patriot All-America participants also qualified that week to play in the U.S. Open through sectional qualifying, including reigning Patriot All-America Invitational champion and Texas A&M senior, Cameron Champ.

By winning the 2016 Patriot All-America Invitational this past December, Champ had earned an exemption into the Air Capital Classic, a Web.com Tour event at Crestview Country Club in Wichita, Kansas, played the same week as the U.S. Open. With Champ qualifying for the U.S. Open, 2016 Patriot All-America runner-up Zach Olsen of Oklahoma State accepted the exemption and played in the Air Capital Classic. Olsen finished tied for 27th at the Air Capital Classic after firing a final round 7-under 63 – the lowest final round by anyone in the field. 

Koepka, who played in the inaugural Patriot All-America in 2011 and finished 18th at The Wigwam in Litchfield Park, AZ was joined at the U.S. Open by nine fellow Patriot alums, including: Justin Thomas (2011 Patriot participant), Trey Mullinax (2011), Daniel Berger (2012), Bryson Dechambeau (2013), Jordan Niebrugge (2012), J.T. Poston (2014), John Oda (2016), Sahith Theegala (2016) and Champ (2016). Champ, who was one of only two amateurs to make the cut and play the weekend at Erin Hills, finished even par (70, 69, 73, 76; 288) and tied for 32nd. Champ wowed U.S. Open spectators as he led all players in driving distance with an average 337.30 yards off the tee.

The Patriot All-America Invitational, held annually December 27-31 on The Wigwam’s Gold Course, pits the best of the best in collegiate golf from every NCAA division plus special invitees. Throughout the 54-hole championship, each participant honors a fallen or severely injured soldier by carrying a golf bag bearing the name of that soldier. Participants also receive a card with the soldier’s story, so they can be familiar with who that person was, what they represented and how they were killed or wounded in action.

The 2017 Patriot All-America will mark the tournament’s seventh event. To date, more than $56 million has been won by Patriot All-America alumni while playing various professional tours and events. The Arizona Golf Association, JDM Partners and the Golf Coaches Association of America partner with the Folds of Honor Foundation to host the tournament. For more information on the Patriot All-America Invitational, visit www.patriotallamerica.com