Koepka cool about first WGC win at FedEx St Jude. . . and reflects on helping sick kids

BROOKS Koepka sealed his first World Golf Championships title as he cruised to a three-shot victory at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

The World No. 1 carded an impressive bogey-free round of 65 at TPC Southwind to get to 16-under par and add a WGC to his four Major Championship victories.

Fellow American Webb Simpson proved to be his closest challenger, finishing at 13-under after a sparkling final round of 64.

Koepka started the day a shot behind overnight leader and playing partner Rory McIlroy, but looked in total control from the moment he made the first of five birdies at the third hole.

Koepka said: “It’s incredible. I’ve always loved this place, so to play well here, it’s incredible.

“It’s a golf course that I feel like I know better than any other golf course on Tour. To finally get the win here, it’s special, especially now with it being a World Golf Championship.

“These last few years have been unbelievable. It’s been an incredible run, been playing some good golf and I’m excited for what the future holds.

“When I went to that hospital (St Jude) I believe it was two years ago, maybe three, it changed my life.

“I appreciate the little things because you see these kids and they’re struggling for their lives.

“And everything their families have to sacrifice and what they’re going through on a daily basis is nothing compared to what any trouble any of us will ever have.”

The 29-year-old now has six European Tour victories, having claimed his first at the Turkish Airlines Open in 2014, to go with his four European Challenge Tour wins, before going on to Major glory.

Runner-up Simpson said: “I knew I needed a quick start. Chasing a guy like Brooks Koepka or Rory McIlroy is a tough thing, so I knew it was going to take a low round.

“But I also know that this golf course, if you’re a little off, you can get some penalty shots quickly. So, I had hope starting the day.

“Everything through the bag was doing what it needs to be doing. I made some putts, made a few par saves when I needed to.

“Getting off to a great start, eagle at three, birdie at six, that was the start I was hoping for and the start I needed. Very satisfied.”

Australian Marc Leishman finished in third place at 12-under, one clear of McIlroy and English duo Matthew Fitzpatrick and Tommy Fleetwood.

“It was a really solid day,” said Fleetwood, who has a runner-up finish in the 2017 WGC-Mexico Championship to his name.

“You’re always going to look at it and think a couple more putts could have gone, because I think I gave myself three or four good chances from 10, 12 feet,” Tommy added.

“Hole a couple of those and you’re right up there. Overall, just another really good week, another solid week of golf. Just consistent results.

“You never know what’s going to happen and there’s still a chance out there on Sundays. We know Sundays in contention are difficult even for the best players in the world.”

Fleetwood said: “You’ve still got to go out there and finish it off. So, go out and do your best, which I did. I would have liked a couple more, but overall, you can’t be too disappointed.”

Spain’s Jon Rahm was then in seventh place at 10-under and finished the week by donating $23,000 – $1,000 for every birdie he made – to the St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which has benefitted from tournaments played at TPC Southwind since 1989.

Rahm, a recent winner of the Irish Open at Lahinch, said: “I played good enough to make a run, I just couldn’t make anything.

“Besides that first hole, from two to nine I don’t think I was over 20 feet for eagle really more than once.

“They all had a chance, I just couldn’t make them. Had I been able to make a couple more than what I did and get myself closer to the lead, would have had a chance on the back nin.

“Any of the problems I’ll ever have on a golf course are nothing, absolutely nothing compared to what some of those kids go through,” Rahm reflected.

“To see their smile at least for five seconds taking care of the flag and people cheering for them, it’s heartwarming, it’s fun.

“We’re playing for a lot more than just ourselves this week. I always think it’s important to give back.”

Children who have been treated at the hospital also joined the final groups on the 18th green on Sunday to place the pin flags.

England’s Ian Poulter finished at nine-under, with American pair Billy Horschel and Bubba Watson one shot further back and rounding out the top 10 at eight-under.

For full scores click here.

Related Articles

, , , , , , ,

Designed & Managed by Windrush Group - Oxford