Koepka takes out WGC and Wyndham Rewards
July 28, 2019
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Brooks Koepka captures WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Brooks Koepka sauntered into TPC Southwind just 45 minutes before his final round showdown with Rory McIlroy and the elite chasing pack at the World Golf Championships – FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
Clearly sporting some sort of illness all week, Koepka had people nervous as to whether he was going to be ready to play at all as the minutes ticked by.
They need not have worried.
The 29-year-old joined 54-hole leader McIlroy at the top just three holes into Sunday’s final round before taking the lead outright on the fifth hole. He would never lose control from there, posting a bogey-free 5-under 65 to win by three over Webb Simpson.
McIlroy failed to create the epic showdown all had hoped for and was relegated to just a bystander with his 71, falling five shots back.
With his first World Golf Championship win, Koepka now boasts seven PGA TOUR titles, six of those coming in a little over two years, four of which are majors.
He not only wrapped up the tournament, but also the top spot in the regular season long Wyndham Rewards battle and its $2 million bonus, a week before the final event. And barring Alex Noren making two albatrosses next week on the par-5 15th at Sedgefield Country Club, Koepka claimed the $1 million Aon Risk Reward Challenge.
All up that is a $4.745 million Sunday. Not bad work if you can get it.
“It’s incredible. To look at what I've done this year, just show consistency, try to take my game to a new level and I've done that. To be up there in the FedExCup with a chance in Atlanta, that's incredible,” Koepka said.
“But to win the Wyndham Rewards is incredible. That's what you shoot for. You want to be No. 1, when the season's done and going into the Playoffs, and then to add Aon Risk Reward, it just comes from the consistency. It's incredible to look at how much you could have won today, and to do it, it's been incredible.”
Koepka has three wins this season including the PGA Championship and THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES. He was runner up at the Masters and the U.S. Open and was fourth at the Open Championship.
It was the quick trip back from Northern Ireland and it’s tough weather that left Koepka vulnerable to illness this week. But he was not making excuses. And he claimed coming in late was far from a big deal.
“It doesn't affect your play. It doesn't affect me hitting a golf ball. I mean, I don't feel good. I haven't felt good all week, but I don't want to make an excuse, I'm not trying to complain. Just get on with it. People go to work sick all the time,” he said.
“I always take less time on Sunday. I'm already loose when I get to the golf course. I don't even need to hit balls. I've already stretched, I've already done everything. I don't know why everybody else is in a panic, I'm not. I'm sure you didn't see one ounce of stress on my face.”
He’s right on that count. It was a stress-free day for Koepka as the chasers failed to mount enough pressure to worry him.
McIlroy missed a short birdie putt on the par-5 3rd and it went downhill from there. Simpson shot a tidy 64 on Sunday to post his best result since winning the 2018 PLAYERS Championship but never actually caught Koepka. Marc Leishman had five back nine birdies, but a couple of bogeys also meant he was never really in the hunt.
Now that he has the regular season locked up, Koepka can set his sights on the FedExCup proper. He finished 10th in the FedExCup in 2016-17 and ninth in 2017-18.
“The year's not done, I've still got a few things to finish off and hopefully it will go my way.
I haven't thought that far ahead, but if I did (win it), that would be incredible,” Koepka said.
“This run I'm on the last couple years has been so special. I've given myself some good chances but I've just never played well in the Playoffs. I don't know what it is, whether it's just a little burnt out or what, but I haven't gotten it done. So this year, in a little better shape. Hopefully a week off will just kind of relax and take it easy and then get back in the swing of things.”
Even if he waits until Thursday to turn up at THE NORTHERN TRUST, you’d be brave to bet against him.