Feb 8th, 2021
Koepka bounces back to take Phoenix Open
Back nine charge takes American to one shot victory
Words: GolfPunk Photography: Getty Images
With three birdies and an eagle in the last six holes, a back nine charge saw Koepka move through the field to claim a one shot victory at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Koepka had two eagles and three birdies in his six-under round of 65 to finish on nineteen-under-par at TPC Scottsdale.
Koepka was five shots back from joint-leaders Xander Schauffele and Jordan Speith heading into the final day. The man from Florida was still not looking in the frame as he reached the turn in one-under, fourteen-under for the event but went into overdrive for his last six holes.
Three consecutive birdies from the thirteenth tee followed by a tournament-winning eagle at the short par four 17th hole saw Koepka grab victory. Koepka hit a fairway wood at the 17th just short and left of the green and then proceeded to chip in for eagle and the biggest roar of the day from the depleted crowd.
"I like the way I finished that off. Hit a lot quality golf shots down the stretch. I haven't been in contention in God knows how long, so to actually hit golf shots like I'm accustomed to seeing when the pressure is on, it's a good feeling," said Koepka.
"I miss that pressure, I miss the atmosphere, the fans. I mean, my best results come with fans, so I'm excited to have them back."
Both overnight leaders struggled on the final day, with Xander Schauffele's 71 seeing him miss out by one shot in a tie for second with South Korea's Kyoung-Hoon Lee. Spieth could not reproduce his form of Saturday when he shot a ten-under-par 61; a one-over 72 saw him drop into a share of fourth with Carlos Ortiz and Steve Stricker.
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy closed with an impressive round of 64 but still finished six shots behind winner Koepka in a share of thirteenth place alongside Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas.