American Brooks Koepka is the world No 1 for the first time after capping the best year of his career by adding to US Open and US PGA Championship successes with an impressive victory in the CJ Cup, a PGA Tour event held at Jeju Island in South Korea.
Koepka, who has never looked back since earning a step up to the European Tour after winning the Scottish Challenge in Aviemore in 2013, will topple Dustin Johnson as the highest-ranked player in the men’s game when the standings are updated this morning.
“To be world No 1 is something I dreamed of as a kid and I don’t think this one’s going to sink in yet,” admitted the 28-year-old Floridian in his post-round press conference after storming home in 29 for a closing 64 and a 21-under-par 267 total.
He won by four shots from compatriot Gary Woodland, who briefly shared the lead in the final round, with another American, Ryan Palmer, signing off with a ten-under-par 62 to share third position with Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello.
“Everything I’ve done this year it’s been working,” added Koepka. “So I don’t want to change anything. Just keep improving. I’m so excited right now, you have no idea. I can’t wait to go play again.”
Koepka began the day with a three-shot lead but, by the time he had reached the turn one-under for his round with three birdies and two bogeys, he had been joined at the top by Woodland. His fellow American had six birdies in seven holes on the front nine and four birdies in his next seven holes kept pace with Koepka, but he bogeyed the par-three 17th and, even though he gained that shot back at the last for a nine-under round of 63, his 17-under total did not look enough to keep his rival at bay.
So it proved as Koepka chipped in from 70-feet for birdie at the 16th and holed a 25ft eagle putt at the last to card a round of 64 for a 21-under total. “I’m not somebody who’s going to panic if things go the wrong way,” added Koepka of his slow start. I felt like the one [birdie] at 15 was quite big with Gary making a charge.”
Elsewhere, Becky Morgan clinched her first professional victory at the age of 44 by winning the Hero Women’s Indian Open. The Welsh woman shot a final round 69 to finish two shots clear of Sweden’s Caroline Hedwall at the DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurgaon.
Austrian Christine Wolf shared the lead playing the last but ran up a double-bogey, having taken a nine at the same hole in the third round on Saturday.
Morgan finished on seven under after a final round which included four birdies and only one dropped shot at the 11th. “It’s taken me 18 years and it’s a mixture of excitement and relief that finally I have done it,” she said.