Brooks Koepka wins in Turkey
Brooks Koepka fired a 65 this morning and won the Turkish Airlines Open, finishing one shot ahead of Ian Poulter. It’s his first win as a professional on a major tour, and it really feels like this could be the start of something huge for the 24-year old American.
My friends at No Laying Up have been on Koepka for what seems like forever and it’s pretty easy to see why. He hits the ball miles from the tee, averaging nearly 310 yards in 2014 according to the European Tour, and it’s the kind of power that seemingly comes easy to Koepka and more importantly, he knows it. Golf Digest ran a piece on Koepka back in August where he said things like this:
“The harder I swing, the straighter it goes. It’s nice to sometimes carry one 320, and hit it by everybody.”
“If a hole is tight, I swing harder at it. A lot of times, players get nervous about a tight landing area and try to guide the shot out there. I do the opposite. I just let it go.”
That’s a confident player and with this win, he’ll likely be able to show off his skills to a much wider audience. When him and Peter Uihlein made the decision to go over and play in Europe instead of staying in the United States, it was an interesting decision but one that made sense with the controversial changes to how players qualify for the PGA Tour and now, it’s paying off. Both players have received exemptions to play in PGA Tour events and this win will open things up for Koepka. He’s going to play in the Masters for the first time next year and he now has a guaranteed European Tour card for the next two years with a guaranteed spot in all of their biggest events, plus he should get into several WGC events if he can keep up a relatively decent level of play.
Don’t forget who won his first event here last year. Victor Dubuisson is now a household name in golf circles, and Brooks Koepka is going to be next.
Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood
So, it wasn’t the best ending to the week for Ian Poulter, who led after both the second and third rounds and couldn’t close the deal. He hasn’t won since the 2012 WGC-HSBC Champions and 2014 was a disaster for the most part, but he should take something from this. In just the second event with his new Titleist clubs, he’s put up a great finish and as we see with just about everyone, it’s not easy when you make a switch like that, especially in-season. Granted, you’d think that he tested the hell out of the new sticks and he did finish tied for 5th at this event last year, so you know he likes the course, but he should still be very encouraged here with the result.
Much like Poulter, Lee Westwood has had a dreadful 2014, but something interesting happened after he got selected by Paul McGinley to play in the Ryder Cup. Westwood lost a ton of weight in a short amount of time, to the point where he almost looks as svelte as the guy who’s claiming to be Darren Clarke these days, and it’s starting to pay off. He played well at Gleneagles and since the Ryder Cup, his finishes look like this: T12, T13, T20, T20, T8. It could be coincidental, but he’s looked really good in the last couple of months.
GIFs of the tournament