Brooks Koepka. Picture: REUTERS/Charles Platiau
Brooks Koepka. Picture: REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Scottsdale — Brooks Koepka used a chip-in eagle at No 17 on Sunday to rally from five shots back at the start of the final round and win his second career Waste Management Phoenix Open title in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Koepka shot a 6-under-par 65 to finish at 19-under 265 and win by one shot over Xander Schauffele and South Korea’s Kyoung-Hoon Lee.

Koepka, a four-time Major winner who last won on the PGA Tour in 2019, chipped in from 29 yards on the front-right of the green at 17 to vault him out of a tie atop the leader board with Mexico’s Carlos Ortiz and into sole possession of the top spot at 19 under.

He added a par at 18 to seal the victory as he began to distance himself from hip and knee injuries that have plagued him going back to 2019. The eight-time winner on the PGA Tour won his first tournament at the 2015 Phoenix Open. The two-time US Open and PGA Championship winner missed three consecutive cuts before arriving in Arizona.

“I felt like I have been playing really well,” Koepka said. “I loved the way I have been playing, even though I was missing cuts. It came down to scoring. I felt like I was playing well all week and knocking on the door and today I just stayed patient.”

Ortiz, Jordan Spieth and 53-year-old Steve Stricker finished two shots back in a tie for fourth place at 17 under. Schauffele and Spieth started Sunday tied for the lead.

A group of three finished in a tie for seventh place at 16 under, including Andrew Putnam, Matthew NeSmith and Scottie Scheffler. Schauffele moved to within one shot of Koepka’s lead with a birdie at 16, but found water with his tee shot at the short par-4 17th hole leading to a bogey that ended his chances at victory. He finished with a birdie at 18 for an even-par 71.

“Kind of — yeah, that was sort of it,” Schauffele said of his drive into the water. “I really needed to hit that one on the green and two-putt to give myself a chance at least. That’s where my head was. I got quick and forced it.”

Spieth also failed to get going on Sunday and shot a 1-over 72, one day after he blistered the TPC Scottsdale course by shooting 10 under. After a tame front nine that included a bogey and an eagle, Koepka started his charge with three consecutive birdies, beginning with the par-5 13th hole. His birdie at No 15 moved him into a tie for the lead at 17 under.

Koepka played a safe tee shot at No 17 away from the water on the left side of the green. He then bounced his chip on the apron of the green and it rolled into the hole to draw a roar from a small gallery of fans allowed on the course.

“It’s been very humbling,” Koepka said about overcoming his injuries. “I didn’t know if I was ever going to be the same again. My [left] knee just didn’t feel the same as my right one. I was in some dark places, I’m not going to lie.”

Justin Thomas moved into contention after Saturday’s third round and was sitting four shots back, but learnt about the death of his grandfather Paul Thomas overnight. He shot a 1-over 72 on Sunday to finish six shots back and in a tie for 13th place.


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