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Brooks Koepka wins in South Korea to earn golf No. 1 ranking

JEJU ISLAND, South Korea — Brooks Koepka is golf’s new No. 1 after profitable the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges on Sunday by 4 strokes.

Koepka, who displaced Dustin Johnson for the world’s high ranking, shot a final-round Eight-under 64 for a 21-under complete of 267. Koepka, who had by no means held the highest ranking, led by 4 strokes after three rounds.

“To be No. 1 is something I’ve dreamed of as a kid,” Koepka mentioned. “I don’t think this one is going to sink in.”

Gary Woodland definitely made it attention-grabbing. Woodland began the day 5 strokes behind Koepka, who was solely 1-under after 9, however Woodland pulled stage after making six birdies in seven holes on the entrance 9.

The two dueled on the again 9, with Woodland birdieing 15 and 16 to once more pull stage. But Koepka did the identical, and a bogey by Woodland on the par-Three 17th gave Koepka the cushion he wanted to shut out the win regardless of a birdie on the 18th by Woodland.

The greatest second got here on the 16th. Koepka went from a fairway bunker to simply left of the inexperienced, about 70 ft away. Koepka hit a chip-and-run that was stopped by the pin and dropped for the birdie.

Koepka completed in fashion with a 25-foot eagle putt on the 18th for a 29 on the again 9.

“I’m not somebody who’s going to panic if things go the wrong way,” Koepka mentioned of his sluggish begin. “I felt like the one at 15 was quite big with Gary making a charge.”

Woodland completed second after a 63. Ryan Palmer birdied his final seven holes to shoot a course-record 62 and end in a tie for third place with Rafa Cabrera Bello (65), 4 strokes behind Koepka.

Woodland was completely happy together with his ultimate spherical, however seemed again to a number of missed birdie probabilities on Saturday.

“Brooks with the lead.not much fazes him,” Woodland mentioned. “So you knew you had to make a lot of birdies and I made a lot today. I was trying to put as much pressure as I could. But just shows I was too far back to start after not making too many putts yesterday. I gave myself a chance, I was tied for the lead there. Brooks obviously just made some clutch shots down the stretch.”

Palmer mentioned he grew to become extra assured with every of his seven straight birdies on the again 9.

“The more I made, the more free I felt in my swing and I was able to hit some close,” Palmer mentioned. “I made some long putts coming down the stretch. Actually on 17, I looked at my scorecard, I was like, `oh, that’s six in a row.’ It is kind of back there, but you don’t think about it. What a special day.”

Defending champion Justin Thomas, who might have prevented Koepka from transferring to No. 1 with a repeat win, completed at 5-under after a 68 Sunday.

Koepka is the third participant this yr to attain No. 1 for the primary time, becoming a member of Justin Rose and Thomas. The final time that occurred was in 1997, when Ernie Els, Tom Lehman and Tiger Woods every rose to No. 1.

It was Koepka’s 12th victory worldwide, together with 4 wins on the European Challenge Tour. He now has received in six nations — the U.S., South Korea, Spain, Italy, Turkey and Scotland.

“Everything I’ve done this year it’s been working. So I don’t want to change anything,” Koepka mentioned. “Just preserve enhancing.

“I am so excited proper now, you don’t have any thought. I can not wait to go play once more.”

He’ll get his likelihood quickly. Next week the PGA Tour heads to Shanghai for the ultimate cease on its Asian swing, the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions.

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