Most Strokes Under Par (72 Holes) in a U.S. Open

What is the farthest below par any golfer has gotten to win the U.S. Open golf tournament? The record for lowest winning score in relation to par is 16-under-par, and two golfers share that record.

Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka are the two golfers who share the record. Playing on a par-71 golf course, McIlroy won the tournament in 2011 at 16-under. (He reached 17-under at one point.) Koepka joined McIlroy with a winning score in relation to par of 16-under in 2017. Koepka made the mark on a par-72 course. (Remember that the USGA can set par at whatever it wants.)

The USGA has a reputation for setting up very difficult golf course layouts for its national championship. So it's not a surprise that few golfers in the tournament's history has gotten very far under par.

See also: Lowest winning stroke totals in the U.S. Open

Lowest Winning Scores in Relation to Par in U.S. Open

So far only five golfers have won a U.S. Open at or better than 10-under, and just one other golfer has won at 9-under:
  • 16-under — Rory McIlroy, scored 268 on the par-71 Blue Course at Congressional Country Club in the 2011 U.S. Open
  • 16-under — Brooks Koepka, scored 272 on the par-72 Erin Hills in the 2017 U.S. Open
  • 13-under — Gary Woodland, scored 271 on the par-71 Pebble Beach Golf Links in the 2019 U.S. Open
  • 12-under — Tiger Woods, scored 272 on the par-71 Pebble Beach Golf Links in the 2000 U.S. Open
  • 10-under — Wyndham Clark, scored 270 on the par-70 North Course at Los Angeles (Calif.) Country Club in the 2023 U.S. Open
  • 9-under — Martin Kaymer, scored 271 on the par-70 No. 2 Course at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club in the 2014 U.S. Open

The first golfer to win at 8-under was Ben Hogan in 1948. Jack Nicklaus in 1980, Hale Irwin in 1990, Lee Janzen in 1993 and Jim Furyk in 2003 also won at 8-under. A couple related items to make note of:

Most strokes under par at any point: What is the lowest any golfer has gotten under par at any time in any U.S. Open? We actually already mentioned it above: Rory McIlroy got to 17-under during the final round in 2011. That is the most strokes under par any golfer has ever been in a U.S. Open.

First golfer to reach double-digits under par in a U.S. Open: Since the 2010s, many golfers have gotten double-digits under par — 10 strokes or more under par — at some point in a U.S. Open. But it took a very long time in the tournament's history before the first golfer made it to 10-under. And that was Gil Morgan, who first reached 10-under with a birdie on the third hole of the third round of the 1992 U.S. Open. Morgan made it to 12-under before things started going south for him that day. He wound up shooting 77 in that third round, then 81 in the final round, and finished at 5-over par.

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