In 2014, Palm Beach Gardens resident and Wellington native Brooks Koepka traveled more than 53,000 miles to play golf. He played mostly on the European Tour with roommate and friend Peter Uihlein but played sparingly in the states as well, mostly on sponsors invitations, in search of his first win on any major golf tour.
Sunday, after months of close calls and top 10 finishes around the world, Koepka finally got his maiden win in Turkey at the Turkish Airlines Open. Having won four times on the European Challenge Tour (Europe’s equivalence to the U.S. based Web.com Tour), Koepka beat one of the strongest fields on the European Tour to retain his European Tour card for the next two years.
“I feel like I’ve been playing really well and I’ve been knocking on the door, and these last maybe two, three months, I’ve been very close over here and in the States,” Koepka said. “I also felt like I should have won a couple. But I’ve been knocking on the door and I’ve learned something every time, and used that today. I was very relaxed, very calm today. It showed I guess.”
Starting the day two shots off the lead, he held off the likes of Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson thanks in large part to a bogey-free 65. Poulter got the closest, missing getting into a playoff with Koepka by one shot when his five footer for birdie at 18 missed right, but in the end nobody could stop the hard hitting 24 year old American.
“Disappointing is the outcome but hats off to a great round today from Brooks as he’s played some superb golf there,” said Poulter. “It’s frustrating, is what it is. There’s no other word for it. Yes, I’m going to be angry. I’ll be angry for a good few days. But that’s fine. I’ll keep myself in my own little room and have a little chat with myself and come out and win next week.”
In addition to the over $1 million check for winning one of the four flagship Race to Dubai events that ends the European Tour season, the win moves Koepka into the top 50 in the World Rankings.
At number 35 in the world, Koepka will not have to rack up nearly as many airline miles traveling the globe in 2015, unless he wants to. That’s because he can now hand pick his schedule on both the European and PGA Tours and is qualified to compete in all four of the WGC events in addition to the Masters, U.S. Open, and PGA Championship. Being able to compete in those “crossover” events that are sanctioned by both tours will be a huge step forward in being able to retain his eligibility on both tours and truly be a world golfer.
“It means so much,” he said. “It’s nice to work all the way up from the Challenge Tour, and to win on the European Tour is special. I’ve been waiting for this win for a while now, and it’s nice to have it here.”
Ironically enough, Koepka had no idea that the win got him an invitation down Magnolia Lane. It was his dad who broke the news to him in the locker room afterwards.
“I’ve had kind of had Augusta on the schedule since playing in the U.S. Open this year,” he said. “So that invitation is going to be nice and I was actually told in the locker room, I didn’t even know at the time. My dad somehow knew it, which I have no clue he said something to me and I was like, okay, right, funny. But yes, definitely looking forward to that. That will be great as growing up, watching that tournament, has always been special.”
Charley Hoffman Breaks 108 Start Win-less Streak
Charley Hoffman got his maiden PGA Tour victory all the way back in 2007 at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. He then had to wait 105 events before he got win #2 at the Deutsche Bank Championship in 2010.
Sunday, Hoffman earned his third career win on Tour and ended a streak of 108 starts without a win, surpassing the 105 it took him between wins two and three.
Rallying from a three shot deficit, Hoffman shot a final round 66 to get a one shot victory over Shawn Stefani in the OHL Classic at Mayakoba.
The win, which signifies the end of the calendar year for the PGA Tour, gets Hoffman into the first event of the 2015 calendar, the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
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