The player that’s known for both power off the tee and finesse on the greens captured the win in South Korea at the CJ Cup and the No. 1 ranking at the same time. Brooks Koepka won the second PGA event on the Asian swing of the schedule by going 21-under at Nine Bridges while keeping Gary Woodland four strokes behind him.
The win will push Koepka to the top of the Official World Golf Rankings as he’ll move past Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose. The former Florida State golfer from Palm Beach, Florida said the ranking was something he’s been thinking about for a long time.
“To be world No. 1 is something I dreamed of as a kid,” Koepka said after the CJ Cup win. “I don’t think this one’s going to sink in.”
Koepka started to play during the final round as the leader over Scott Piercy and Ian Poulter. But, the player who surged forward to make the challenge was Woodland who carded ten birdies through sixteen holes. That push brought Woodland even with Koepka towards the end of the tournament, but the form Seminole closed the door quickly.
Woodland couldn’t keep up the run of Birdies while Koepka finished the day with flawless play. His only mistake was on the 16-hole where it seemed as if he would hole out with par or possibly a bogie. Instead, Koepka chipped his ball over a hump in front of the green and watched it roll in for a birdie.
Woodland carded a few bogies, one coming moments after Koepka’s chip in, which pushed Koepka back in front by three strokes. Woodland came back with a nice birdie on his next hole, but Koepka finished his round in style by scoring an Eagle on 18 for the win. Koepka went eight-under-par 64 during his final round to finish 21-under-par with a four-round total of 267. Woodland was somewhat dejected by the way he finished out the tournament but said Koepka was “clutch” down the stretch.
“Brooks with the lead… not much fazes him,” Woodland said of Koepka finishing out the final round. “So, you knew you had to make a lot of birdies and I made a lot today. I was trying to put as much pressure as I could. But just shows I was too far back to start after not making too many putts yesterday. I gave myself a chance, I was tied for the lead there. Brooks obviously just made some clutch shots down the stretch.”
Ready for More
Koepka, who has often said he hasn’t gotten the media attention he deserves, has had an amazing couple of years. He won the US Open twice and the PGA Championship. He was also named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year award. Now he says he’s ready for more.
"Everything I've done this year it's been working so I don't want to change anything, just keep improving,” Koepka said. “I'm so excited right now, you have no idea. I can't wait to go play again.”
Koepka now has twelve professional wins with five PGA Tour wins, three of which are Majors. It’s a good bet that he’ll win many more times during his career and possibly hold the No. 1 spot for a while if his level of play stays where it is.