'To win against McIlroy made it special' - Koepka savours WGC success

The world number one was a three-stroke winner in Memphis on Sunday.

Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka.
Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka.
Image: Mark Humphrey

BROOKS KOEPKA CONSOLIDATED his position as the world’s best golfer last night as he claimed a three-stroke victory at the WGC St Jude Invitational in Memphis.

The American, who added a maiden world golf event title to May’s PGA Championship, went head-to-head with Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy in the final group after the latter’s third round 62 handed him a one-shot lead heading into the final day.

The Holywood golfer failed to build on Saturday’s momentum – parring his first nine holes – and Koepka seized on the chance to pull away from the 30-year-old.

A birdie on the third was followed by picking up back-to-back shots on the fifth and sixth to send him two clear of his nearest rival.

From there, the four-time Major winner cruised. Two birdies and seven pars down the stretch saw him close out his week with a bogey-free 65 and land him a cheque for $1.75 million (€1.57 million).

Speaking to Sky Sports after his round, the Florida native admitted that victory felt sweeter because he had to battle it out with some of the best golfers in the world – namely, McIlroy.

“It’s always fun to battle Rory,” he said. “He’s a fun player to watch. You could watch him hit balls all day. It’s very pleasing to say the least.

He’s a true competitor so to win it against him today was truly special.”

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He continued: “I played really solid. The goal was to make no bogeys and I did that. I’m very pleased with it.”

Asked whether he produced some of his finest golf to see of the charge of  Webb Simpson and Marc Leishmann, he added: “I felt like I was hitting my numbers.

“I was just putting the ball in the correct spot where it needed to be. I made a few mistakes but that’s going to happen. If you hit it in the rough out there, you can’t control the golf ball. 

“Overall, I’m very pleased.”

Koepka becomes just the fifth player to win a WGC event and a Major in the same year – adding his name to a list which includes Tiger Woods (1999), Rory McIlroy (2014), Dustin Johnson and Geoff Ogilvy (both 2016).

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