Koepka crashes the winner's circle
By Torleif Sorenson on 2/2/15

Florida native Brooks Koepka has steadily improved his game over the last three years. In just the last year, Koepka won the Turkish Airlines Open and had three other top-ten finishes to win the European Tour's Rookie of the Year award. Before that, he notched victories in Scotland, Italy, and twice in Spain (2012 and 2013).

Getting his third start of the season, Koepka kept things rolling on TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course with a 51-foot eagle putt that propelled him to his first PGA Tour victory. The Floridian prevailed by one shot (and it was almost two shots) over Hideki Matsuyama, Ryan Palmer, and Bubba Watson.

The other interesting "major" development from the 2015 Phoenix Open was that Tiger Woods (perhaps not surprisingly) and Phil Mickelson (perhaps surprisingly) missed the cut on Friday. Mickelson shot 69-76 to miss by two, while Tiger had his worst outing as a professional by shooting 73-82 to miss by 12 shots.

Coming off a serious back injury and having not played competitively in a very long time, Tiger was quite professional about missing the cut afterward:

So, Keopka has secured his PGA Tour playing privileges for the next two years, with no further questions, joining Matsuyama and Watson on the exempt list. Palmer continues to play well, although he has not won on the Tour since the 2010 Sony Open in Hawaii.

Props must also be given to Arizona State University student athlete Jon Rahm, who played the WMPO on a sponsor's exemption. He made the sponsors look good, too, by finishing T-5. How good was the experience?

"It means a lot. It means that I proved to myself that I can be out here. I can be here and compete with the best and, you know, try to be the best.

"16 is absolutely incredible. Lifetime experience. I would say it's like being a gladiator. Get in there and go through the door, see so many people, it's amazing. It's an indescribable feeling."
The only bad part of finishing T-5 is that Rahm had to turn down the $239,400 he would have won had he turned professional. But the ASU junior is remaining in college.

We're fairly certain that the wait will be worth it for Rahm.

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[ comments ]
srogers13 says:
Not only did he not get the money, since he is an amateur, he does get an entry into the Farmers for finishing in the top 10.
Torleif Sorenson says:
It looks like Rahm and his ASU teammates will be at the Amer Ari Invitational in Hawaii. That is such rough duty...
bkuehn1952 says:
Just caught the tail end of the Sunday broadcast. Boy did Martin Laird implode. Koepka looked very solid. Seeing all that sun and green grass was torture. Outside we were getting 14+ inches of snow, wind and frigid temps.
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