Koepka upstages McIlroy for maiden WGC title in Memphis

By Sports Desk July 28, 2019

Brooks Koepka saw off Rory McIlroy to claim his maiden World Golf Championship at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

World number one Koepka celebrated a three-stroke victory after carding a five-under-par 65 in Memphis on Sunday.

Koepka – a four-time major champion – enjoyed a flawless final round with five birdies, including three in a four-hole stretch at TPC Southwind.

The American star and FedEx Cup leader finished 16 under overall for his third win of the season and seventh of his career, ahead of countryman Webb Simpson (64).

Simpson's round was highlighted with an eagle on the par-five third hole but a bogey just before making the turn sullied his scorecard.

Australian Marc Leishman, who also climbed up the leaderboard, rounded out the top three at 12 under after his final-round 67.

Overnight leader and former world number one McIlroy ended the tournament five shots off the pace following his one-over-par 71.

McIlroy – who won the tournament in 2014 – was the man to beat following the third round after he posted an eight-under-par 62 for a one-shot lead ahead of Koepka.

But the 54-hole leader was unable to maintain his charge after missing the cut at The Open last week – McIlroy falling victim to two bogeys on his back nine as he finished alongside Tommy Fleetwood (66) and Matthew Fitzpatrick (69).

Spanish star Jon Rahm (69) was a stroke further back at 10 under, ahead of Ian Poulter (69).

Defending champion Justin Thomas had to settle for a share of 12th position at six under following his final-round 71.

Thomas finished alongside Jordan Spieth (68), Alex Noren (73), Patrick Reed (68), Rafa Cabrera Bello (66), Aaron Rai (67), Patrick Cantlay (68) and Cameron Smith (68).

Meanwhile, Dustin Johnson – the 2016 champion – ended the event a stroke further back after shooting a two-under-par 68.

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    Brooks Koepka believes Patrick Reed was fully aware of his actions when he flattened out a bunker to improve his lie during the Hero World Challenge in December, saying he was "building sand castles".

    Reed was penalised two strokes for his actions on the 11th hole at the Albany Golf Club in The Bahamas in December, as video footage showed him twice hacking away sand in a bunker during practice swings.

    Golf's rules state that players cannot improve their ability to play a shot by "removing or pressing down sand or loose soil".

    The American made a bogey but was subsequently handed a two-stroke penalty upon the completion of his round.

    After accepting the penalty, Reed defended his actions, insisting he had not intended to move the sand.

    However, world number one Koepka is convinced Reed knew what he was doing.

    "Yeah. I don't know what he was doing, building sand castles in the sand, but you know where your club is," Koepka said in an interview on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio when asked if Reed had cheated.

    "I took three months off and I can promise you I know if I touch sand. If you look at the video, obviously he grazes the sand twice and then he still chops down on it."

    "It goes on a little bit more than people think," Koepka added of players improving lies.

    "I haven't opened my mouth. But now if I saw it, just because of where I'm at in the game, the stature that I have, I would definitely say something."

  • Mickey Wright, 13-time major winner, dies at 85 Mickey Wright, 13-time major winner, dies at 85

    Mickey Wright, who won 13 majors in an eight-year era of dominance and ranks among the greatest female golfers of all-time, has died at the age of 85.

    The American, once described by Ben Hogan as having "the finest golf swing I ever saw", died on Monday, the LPGA announced.

    Wright was born in San Diego, California, and won 82 titles on the LPGA Tour, including her haul of majors.

    She won both the Women's PGA Championship and the U.S. Women's Open four times, landed the Titleholders Championship twice and also earned three wins at the Western Open.

    The latter two ranked as majors at the time of Wright's victories but are no longer part of the tour calendar.

    After retiring at the age of 34, Wright moved to Port St Lucie in Florida - where she spent the rest of her life.

    LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said: "We are deeply saddened to learn about the passing of Mickey Wright. We lost a legend, but we may also have lost the best swing in golf history today. Our thoughts are with her family and friends."

    Only fellow American Patty Berg, who won 15 times from 1937 to 1958, has landed more majors than Wright.

    Ten-time major winner Annika Sorenstam, a modern-day great, wrote on Twitter: "I am very sorry to learn about the passing of golf legend, Mickey Wright.

    "She was one of the best women's golfers of all time and by many accounts had the best swing in golf history.

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    "We are grateful for her many contributions to the game. May she rest in peace."

  • 'I was just off' – Tiger Woods frustrated after rare last-place finish 'I was just off' – Tiger Woods frustrated after rare last-place finish

    Tiger Woods explained he "was just off" as he digested finishing in last place of the 68 players to make the cut at the Genesis Invitational.

    Champion Adam Scott finished 22 shots ahead of Woods, who ended round four at the bottom of the leaderboard for only the second time in his distinguished PGA Tour career.

    The American, who has opted to not play the WGC-Mexico Championship after saying he was feeling "run-down", finished on 11 over par after disappointing rounds of 76 and 77 over the weekend.

    But while Woods was frustrated with his performance at Riviera Country Club, the 44-year-old explained he has a new sense of perspective these days, and even showed his sense of humour.

    "I was just off, it happens," Woods told reporters.

    "I'm off and I have got a chance to have the week off on Monday and do a little prep, a little practicing, some training, be at home and all positive things.

    "I did not do much well. Good news, I hit every ball forward, not backwards, a couple sideways! But overall, I'm done.

    "I've been in this position many times, unfortunately. Just keep fighting hole by hole, shot by shot and try to make some birdies, which I did not do.

    "It's still disappointing, it's still frustrating, I'm still a little ticked.

    "But this part of my career really didn't exist a few years ago, so to be able to do that [play] no matter what I shoot, I also look at it from a perspective which I didn't do most of my career, that I have a chance to play going down the road.

    "A few years ago, that wasn't the case."

    Woods was asked if he wished he had the same level of perspective in his younger years.

    He added: "Earlier in my career I figured I would have another 30 years of doing it, 40 years. Look at most of the players that have had pretty solid careers, three to four decades in our sport.

    "So yeah, I thought I had a long time to be able to do this. I think it's year 23 now, that is a long time, but it's been pretty good."

    Woods was the tournament host in California and while his personal performance, which included a four-putt for the second straight start, was not positive, he was thrilled with how everything else had gone.

    "From a tournament perspective, it couldn't be any better," he said of the event, which had Invitational status for the first time.

    "We've had perfect weather, people have come out and supported this event.

    "Our elevation, being a part of the new Invitational status, look at the players that come out and supported this event that have played this week, we couldn't have asked for a more dream scenario.

    "The golf course was fantastic. Everything couldn't have been any better from that side."

    Woods remains level with Sam Snead on 82 PGA Tour titles, the all-time record, and has not confirmed his next tournament, with the Honda Classic and Arnold Palmer Invitational among his options in the coming weeks.

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