Sunday, 30 September 2012

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  • Brooks Koepka
  • Brooks Koepka
Brooks Koepka was hoping to bring good omens for the American Ryder Cup team ahead of the final day’s play at Medinah after the USA native overcame some of Europe’s finest up and coming players to clinch his maiden Challenge Tour victory at the Challenge de Catalunya.

The tournament was reduced to 54 holes following heavy rain which forced the abandonment of the third day but that didn’t unsettle Koepka as a seven under par round of 65 handed him a three shot victory over Italy’s Alessandro Tadini and capped an incredible start to his career in the paid ranks.

The Floridian joined fellow Americans Peter Uihlein and Scott Pinckney on the Challenge Tour circuit this summer having turned professional in the aftermath of an appearance as an amateur at the US Open Championship in June.

He hit the ground running with a tied 27th place finish in his first start at the Credit Suisse Challenge, followed by a run of three consecutive top 20s including a tied seventh place finish at the English Challenge and a tied fifth finish at the Finnish Challenge.

A 21st place finish at the Norwegian Challenge began a downward curve for Koepka but he recovered from two missed cuts in spectacular fashion in Northern Spain, thanks to a bogey free final round which included five birdies and an incredible eagle at the par five 10th - courtesy of a 45 foot putt.

"I really had no expectations coming into this week,” said the 22 year old, who won with an impressive score of 16 under par over three rounds. “It was the same for the final round. I putted well in practice rounds, but I have been struggling lately with my whole game.

“I missed two cuts lately and I was not very happy. But I guess I regrouped with my game and my mentality and it just felt really good this week. My game feels great now and I hope it continues that way.”

With the early finish in Northern Spain, it meant Koepka could steal away to a television after all of the formalities and support his home country in the final day of The Ryder Cup.

“When I am not playing I just try to enjoy my life away from golf,” said Koepka, whose sporting hero is American Football quarter-back Brett Favre. “I have enough golf in my life as it is but of course I am going to watch The Ryder Cup now and cheer on the American team.”

Koepka’s win earned him €25,600 and moved him into contention for a place in the season-ending Apulia San Domenico Grand Final, the field of which comprises the Challenge Tour’s top 45 players, as he now sits in 39th place in the Rankings.

One man who will definitely play the Grand Final is Tadini, who has also secured a card for The European Tour’s 2013 season after finishing runner up in Catalunya, which elevated the Italian to fifth in the Rankings.

Three-time Challenge Tour winner Robert Dinwiddie sealed his best finish of the season after a four under par final round of 68 left him a shot behind Tadini on 12 under par, while overnight leader after the first and second days, Jeppe Huldahl, fell to a one over par  73 and finished tied 11th.

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