Week 42: Koepka jumps to World No.1

October 22, 2018

PGA Tour – The CJ Cup @Nine Bridges

Brooks Koepka won THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES on Sunday by four strokes.

Having missed the first third of the year, including the Masters, through injury, Brooks Koepka has had a remarkable year winning two Major Championships, the Player of the Year award and now deservedly the OWGR No.1 position. He is the 23rd World No.1 since the Ranking began in 1986.

This will be the first time that the Top-4 in the OWGR (Johnson, Thomas, Rose and Koepka) ALL made the No.1 position in the same calendar year. It is also only the second time there have been four different No.1's in a calendar year (1997 – Norman, Lehman, Woods and Els).

Koepka, the reigning PGA TOUR Player of the Year, shot a final-round 8-under 64 for a 21-under total of 267. Koepka led by four strokes after three rounds.

"Everything I've done this year it's been working. So I don't want to change anything," Koepka said. "Just keep improving. "I'm so excited right now, you have no idea. I can't wait to go play again."

Gary Woodland certainly made it interesting. Woodland started the day five strokes behind Koepka but pulled level after making six birdies in seven holes on the front nine.

The two dueled on the back nine, with Woodland birdieing Nos. 15 and 16 to again pull level. But Koepka did the same, and a bogey by Woodland on the par-3 17th gave Koepka the cushion he needed to close out the win despite a birdie on the 18th by Woodland.

The biggest moment came on the 16th. Koepka went from a fairway bunker to just left of the green, about 70 feet away. Koepka hit a chip-and-run that was stopped by the pin and dropped for the birdie.

Koepa finished with a 25-foot eagle putt for a 29 on the back nine.

"I'm not somebody who's going to panic if things go the wrong way," Koepka said of his slow start. "I felt like the one at 15 was quite big with Gary making a charge."

Woodland finished second after a 63. Ryan Palmer birdied his last seven holes to shoot 62 and finish in a tie for third place with Rafa Cabrera Bello (65), four strokes behind Koepka.

Defending champion Justin Thomas finished at 5-under after a 68 Sunday.

European Tour - Andalucia Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation

Local hero Sergio Garcia successfully defended his Andalucía Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation title after wrapping up a comfortable four-shot victory on Monday.

Garcia had been in possession of a three-shot lead when stormy conditions forced play to be suspended on Sunday night after a series of weather delays on the opening three days at Real Club Valderrama had already seen the tournament reduced to 54 holes.

And 2017 Masters Champion Garcia powered to victory when play resumed on Monday, carding three birdies and a single bogey in his last 11 holes to finish the week on 12 under par.

The impressive victory was Garcia's third in this event, following successes in 2011 and 2017, continuing his love affair with a course he has singled out as being one of his favourites in the world.

Irishman Shane Lowry finished alone in second after notching seven birdies in his final-round 66 .

Japan Golf Tour - Bridgestone Open

Shugo Imahira won a second Japan Golf Tour title at the Bridgestone Open, moving from 85 to World No.

China and Challenge Tour – Foshan Open

Victor Perez secured his 2019 European Tour card with a dramatic play-off victory over Robert MacIntyre at the Foshan Open.

Several players jostled for the lead throughout the final day but it was Perez and MacIntyre who were tied after 72 holes, with the Frenchman posting a three under 69 and the Scot a seven under 65 to finish on 19 under par in total. They returned to the 18th hole for a play-off and it was Perez who emerged triumphant, holing a birdie after the Scot could only card a par.

With his win in Foshan, the 26 year old moves to second on the Road to Ras Al Khaimah and after securing a memorable victory, he admits to experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions during a tough final day.

“It was actually really hard to go off with the lead, on a course like this which is playable,” he said. “Everybody is going to come at you.

“Even the guys at 11 under could have shot eight under and been in the play-off today. It was a little bit windier and it made some of the holes a little bit harder.

“I think Peter, my caddy, and I did a really good job of just staying patient and waiting for holes to get looks. The stress on top of everything makes a 15-footer become a 22-footer and all of a sudden you're thinking about two-putting.

“I was so close last year and just came up short with a little lack of experience. I feel like I played such great golf since August with all those top tens and top 15s. I couldn't be happier.

“I've really been getting myself in positions without getting the results I wanted. I was hoping I'd capitalise at some point and it just happens to be in the biggest week of the year.”

Alps Tour – Grand Final

David Borda of Spain won today the Alps Tour Grand Final with a total score of -19. It is Borda's second victory on the Alps Tour this season.

Hugues Jr Joannes (BEL) finished in 2nd place (-17 total) while Ivan Cantero Gutierrez (ESP) and Leo Lespinasse (FRA) tied for 3rd place with a total score of -13. Lespinasse turned in the best card of the day (64, -7) making an eagle, 6 birdies and a bogey.

“I'm feeling really really good, I could not be happier, I think it was my best week ever. I'm so happy” Borda said. “For sure, I felt the pressure, everybody was feeling the pressure this week, but I managed it and I played very very good during the last 4 days. I'm looking forward to next year on the Challenge Tour” . Last year, David Borda failed obtaining a Challenge Tour card by a few points.

Santiago Tarrio (ESP), who played this week at the European Tour's Valderamma Masters in Spain and thus did not take part in the Grand Final, finishes the 2018 season first in the Order of Merit, the Alps Tour official season ranking, with 26,702.45 points. With today's win, David Borda moves up to second place in the Oom.

PGA Tour LatinoAmerica

Harry Higgs pulled away with three consecutive birdies, starting at No. 14, to win his first PGA TOUR Latinoamérica tournament at the 2018 Diners Club Peru Open presented by Lexus.

The steady Higgs, in his 28th career start on the Tour, was finally able to walk into the winner's circle after shooting a final-round, 4-under 68 to finish at 19-under overall to defeat American David Denlinger and Spain's Mario Beltrán by two strokes. With the $31,500 payday, Higgs moved from No. 18 on the Order of Merit to fifth with three tournaments remaining.

A week earlier, Higgs took a share of the lead into the final round in Chile only to stumble on the final day, shooting a 1-over 73 to fall to a tie for 10th. There would be no such disappointment seven days later.

Asian Development Tour – PGM MIDF Championship

American Sam Gillis secured his maiden Asian Development Tour (ADT) title when he prevailed in a play-off at the PGM MIDF Championship on Saturday.

Gillis staged a remarkable comeback when he traded six birdies against two bogeys to card a four-under-par 68 and force a play-off against overnight leader Itthipat Buranatanyarat of Thailand, who returned with a 70 at the RM225,000 (approx. US$58,000) event.

The 23-year-old ADT rookie went head to head with Itthipat after the duo finished on a 14-under-par 274 total at the end of regulation play. Gillis eventually earned the victory on the third play-off hole.

The play-off was held on the par-four 18th hole at the Kota Seriemas Golf and Country Club where the pair would halve the first two extra holes before Gillis triumphed with a birdie on the third extra hole while Itthipat settled for par to take second place.

The American started the day with a two-shot deficit, but he rallied back by firing birdies on holes two and seven before dropping his first shot on the ninth to turn in 35. He grabbed three more birdies and dropped a shot on hole 17 but would chip-in for birdie on the last for an inward 33.

“I knew it was going to be close on the last three holes and when it came down to the last hole I knew I had to chip it in. Itthipat's second shot was off the green as well and I just chipped it exactly how I wanted to hit the shot and executed it perfectly,” said Gillis.

Sunshine Tour – Vodacom Origins of Golf Parys

Garth Mulroy fired in back-to-back birdies in the last three holes en route to winning the Vodacom Origins of Golf on a total of 10-under-par 206 at Parys Golf and Country Estate, on Saturday.

“I was few shots back always, two, three, four behind Keith (Horne) all day,” he said about capitalising on an opportunity presented by Horne, the overnight leader who was his playing partner, after he made a double-bogey on 13th which narrowed the three-shot gap he had opened.

“He (Horne) got an unlucky break on one of the holes on back nine. He made a double and that opened the door a little bit, but the other guys on eighth to ninth made a few shots ahead of me too. So, I knew I needed a good and strong finish. I said to my caddie, that we need to make some now and I would putt the next two holes. I left it to the last three. I was just fortunate enough to be one ahead,” he said.

The winner of the 2008 Vodacom Origins of Golf Arabella said it also helped him to keep a close eye on Horne as they navigated the course. “It gets you more focused, when you are in contention and in the end,” he said.

“Obviously, playing with Keith who was leading. I always got an eye on him. I am generally a scoreboard watcher to see if someone keeps me interested and to see when you are not in contention or where you are. Yeah, it was nice. I think it came back quickly after I haven't been around for a while. As soon as I got excited, I got a few results.”