Koepka's Euro Trip Pays Off


The name's Koepka, Brooks Koepka.

The name's Koepka, Brooks Koepka.

Not content with watching his countryman Bubba Watson steal the show during the European Tour's recent four-week long Final Series, Brooks Koepka decided the time was right to announce his presence on the world stage.

The 24-year-old from Wellington, Florida, surprised a bevy of big names in the star-studded Turkish Airlines Open a few weeks ago, sealing a narrow one-shot victory courtesy of rounds of 69, 67, 70 and a stellar 65.

There were a number of pretenders to the throne at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal in Antalya, but none of them could topple the little-known American.

Englishman Ian Poulter opened up a massive six-shot lead after the first two rounds, gave it all away on Saturday and then rose back to the top during the final round before falling agonisingly short.

Australian Wade Ormsby stormed into the lead after the third round but fell off the pace on Sunday and had to to be content with fourth place.

European heavyweights Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson and Miguel Angel Jimenez were all in the thick of it during the final round too, but it was Koepka who outshone them all to claim what is by far the biggest win of his fledgling career.

Not many young American golfers decide to kickstart their careers on the other side of the Atlantic, but that is exactly what Koepka did - and it took just two years for the plan to pay major dividends.

Having qualified for the 2012 US Open as an amateur, Koepka made the unusual decision to turn professional and start his career on Europe's feeder Challenge Tour.

His first victory at the Challenge de Catalunya followed just a few months later and he won three more times in 2013 before becoming a full-time member of the European Tour midway through the year.

A top-five finish at the US Open in June of this year gave notice that Koepka was a serious talent, yet his victory in Turkey still caught many by surprise. The smart money would have been on Poulter, Stenson, Westwood and Jimenez - but Koepka clearly had other ideas.

He outscored all his closest rivals with a flawless final-round 65, picking up four birdies on the front nine, adding a fifth at the 10th and then sealing the deal with a magnificent eagle at the par-5 13th.

"It's a special week obviously," Koepka said after collecting the winner's trophy.

"I feel like I've been playing really well. I've been knocking on the door, and these last maybe two, three months, I've been very close over here and in the States - I felt like I should have won a couple.

"But I've been knocking on the door and I've learned something every time, and used that today. I was very relaxed, very calm today, and it showed I guess.

"To look where I was a year and a half ago on the Challenge Tour and now to be a winner on the European Tour is incredible, especially winning four times there and winning out here, it's very special."

Koepka's victory earned him a whopping €848,930, rocketed him into the top 50 on the world rankings and confirmed him as one of the brightest young stars in the game.

Not bad for a week's work.

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