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U.S. Open: Brooks Koepka survives through heartache
Brooks Koepka
By Nick Masuda

SAN FRANCISCO –- It's the night of Oct. 8, 2011, and Brooks Koepka is on the verge of capturing his first college victory.

The Florida State senior had just carded a 2-under 70 to take a three-shot lead heading into the final round at The Brickyard Collegiate in Macon, Ga.

As he does on a daily basis, Koepka checked in with his mother, Denise Jakows, at his childhood home in West Palm Beach, Fla. They talk for a couple of minutes about Brooks' round, but the son senses something is off.

"What's wrong, Mom?"

Denise brushes his concern aside, knowing that Brooks has the biggest day of his career ahead of him.

The next morning, Koepka trudges to The Brickyard at Riverside wearing a pink shirt and a pink ribbon on his hat, in honor of roommate Bjorn Hellgren's mother, who is battling the cancer, and for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Koepka's focus was impeccable as he fired a 3-under 69 to win his first collegiate title. Finally, he could silence those critics who said he couldn't win.3

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