Brooks Koepka outguns Rory McIlroy in final round duel to win WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational in Memphis as Northern Irishman slips to fourth
- Brooks Koepka trailed Rory McIlroy by a shot heading into the final round
- American forged ahead early on and never looks like relinquishing his lead
- It was the first time they’d played together in the final group on Sunday
- Englishmen Tommy Fleetwood and Matt Fitzpatrick tied for fourth place
Now we know how to get Brooks Koepka interested in events outside the majors. Just stick Rory McIlroy next to him going into the final round.
It looked a pretty good contest on paper for the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational in Memphis on Sunday.
McIlroy bounced back nicely from his Open debacle with a third round 62 for a one shot lead over the world No 1 with a round to play.
Brooks Koepka claimed victory by three shots over Webb Simpson in second place
Rory McIlroy had gone into the final round one shot ahead of his American rival
It was the first time they’d played together in the final group on Sunday on the PGA Tour.
In truth, it proved a complete mismatch with Koepka striking early and the Northern Irishman discovering that he’d used up his share of holed putts on Saturday.
An out of sorts McIlroy had to wait until the 14th hole for his first of the day, and by that stage Koepka had mustered five of them to seize a lead he never looked likely to relinquish.
The 29 year old Floridian only arrived on the premises 45 minutes before he was due to tee off but quickly made up for lost time with three birdies in the first six holes. Over the back nine, McIlroy failed to apply any pressure, allowing Koepka something of a leisurely stroll.
Koepka went around in 65 and showed his customary poise under pressure on the back nine
Koepka closed with a 65 for a three shot success over fellow American Webb Simpson, who came through the field with a 64.
Open runner-up Tommy Fleetwood continued his fine form with a 66 for tied fourth place alongside fellow Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick (69) and McIlroy, who shot a disappointing 71.
Koepka came into this event with eyebrows continuing to be raised about his record of four major wins in America against just two regular victories in his homeland.
Here, he began to correct that curious anomaly with his first triumph in one of the four World Golf Championship events.
In common with most of the stars, both men will now have a week off before starting as the two favourites for the FedEx Cup that will occupy their time next month and culminate in a $15 million bonus to the winner.
McIlroy and Koepka will go toe-to-toe once more in the FedEx Cup next month