Sunday, 28 July 2019
Brooks Koepka  (Getty Images)
Brooks Koepka (Getty Images)

Brooks Koepka claimed a first World Golf Championships title as he cruised to a three shot victory at the WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

The World Number One carded a closing 65 at TPC Southwind to get to 16 under, with fellow American Webb Simpson providing the nearest competition as Koepka added a WGC title to his four Major Championship victories.

The 29-year-old 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.

Australian Marc Leishman finished four shots off the lead, one clear of McIlroy and English duo Matthew Fitzpatrick and Tommy Fleetwood.

Koepka now has six European Tour victories, having claimed his first at the Turkish Airlines Open in 2014 to go with four European Challenge Tour wins before his Major glories.

"It's special," he said. "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.

"I just learn every time I'm playing. I think people forget a lot that I had nine second place finishes in the last three years.

"Every time I come in second, I'm learning something, figuring it out, watching the guy win if I'm playing with him or trying to figure out how I can hit shots under pressure, where the misses are.

"I've done a good job of that over the last few years in really learning. I've kind of come into my own figuring out my game, especially under the gun."

Koepka got up and down to save par at the second and got up and down again for birdie on the par five third to join McIlroy at 12 under.

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 - Brooks Koepka

He put an approach to five feet at the fifth to take the solo lead and a 20 foot putt on the next  helped him lead by two at the turn.

An approach to eight feet at the tenth put him three ahead and it was Simpson who was emerging as his closest competition.

The 2012 U.S. Open Championship winner had holed from 27 feet for an eagle on the third and added a gain on the sixth but dropped a shot on the ninth to turn in 33.

Another long putt on the tenth had him back into double figures before he put his tee shot on the par three 11th to tap-in range and holed an eight footer on the 13th.

An up-and-down from the sand on the 16th cut the lead to two as Simpson set the target with a 64 but Koepka put an approach to 12 feet at the 17th to re-establish his cushion.

Leishman started with nine pars but ignited his round with a hat-trick of birdies from the tenth in a 67.

Fleetwood hit an excellent approach into the first and took advantage of the third but he bogeyed the fifth before picking the shot back up from ten feet on the ninth. A tee shot to ten feet on the 14th and up-and-down from the sand on the 16th then saw him sign for a 66.

A tap-in eagle at the 16th was the highlight of Fitzpatrick's 69 as he achieved his best WGC finish, while McIlroy carded a 71.

Spaniard Jon Rahm signed for a 69 to finish at ten under, with England's Ian Poulter registering the same score to end his week a shot further back.

Americans Billy Horschel and Bubba Watson were at eight under, a shot clear of World Number Four Justin Rose.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1KOEPKA, BrooksUSA18-16
2SIMPSON, WebbUSA18-13

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