Golf: Brooks Koepka moves to top of world rankings with tournament win; Kang wins LPGA Shanghai
Brooks Koepka is golf’s new No. 1 after winning the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in Jeju Island, South Korea, on Sunday by four strokes.
Koepka, who displaced Dustin Johnson for the world’s top ranking, shot a final-round 8-under 64 for a 21-under total of 267. Koepka, who had never held the top ranking, led by four strokes after three rounds.
“To be No. 1 is something I’ve dreamed of as a kid,” Koepka said. “I don’t think this one is going to sink in.”
Gary Woodland certainly made it interesting. Woodland started the day five strokes behind Koepka, who was only 1-under after nine, but Woodland pulled level after making six birdies in seven holes on the front nine.
The two dueled on the back nine, with Woodland birdieing 15 and 16 to again pull level. But Koepka did the same, and a bogey by Woodland on the par-3 17th gave Koepka the cushion he needed to close out the win despite a birdie on the 18th by Woodland.
The biggest moment came on the 16th. Koepka went from a fairway bunker to just left of the green, about 70 feet away. Koepka hit a chip-and-run that was stopped by the pin and dropped for the birdie.
Koepka finished in style with a 25-foot eagle putt on the 18th for a 29 on the back nine.
Woodland finished second after a 63. Ryan Palmer birdied his last seven holes to shoot a course-record 62 and finish in a tie for third place with Rafa Cabrera Bello (65), four strokes behind Koepka.
Defending champion Justin Thomas, who could have prevented Koepka from moving to No. 1 with a repeat win, finished at 5-under after a 68 Sunday.
Koepka is the third player this year to reach No. 1 for the first time, joining Justin Rose and Thomas. The last time that happened was in 1997, when Ernie Els, Tom Lehman and Tiger Woods each rose to No. 1.
It was Koepka’s 12th victory worldwide, including four wins on the European Challenge Tour. He now has won in six countries - 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 said. “Just keep improving.”
Kang wins LPGA Shanghai
Danielle Kang shot a 3-under 69 on Sunday to win the LPGA Shanghai by two strokes for her second career title.
Kang, who started the final round one stroke off the lead, offset a lone bogey on the par-5 fourth hole with four birdies after the turn to finish at 13-under 275 and hold off a late charge by Lydia Ko, who had the day’s lowest score of 66.
Ko, who had seven birdies and a lone bogey, tied for second at 11 under with a group of seven players that included Brittany Altomare (71), Ariya Jutanugarn (71) and overnight co-leader Sei Young Kim (72).
The tournament is the second of five being played in South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan in the LPGA’s annual Asian swing.
Austin takes playoff-opening Dominion Energy Charity Classic
Woody Austin shot a 3-under 69 for a one-stroke victory over Bernhard Langer in the PGA Tour Champions’ playoff-opening Dominion Energy Charity Classic.
The 54-year-old Austin finished at 11 under at The Country Club of Virginia’s James River Course. He won his fourth senior title and first since 2016.
Langer, the defending tournament champion and season points leader, had a 70. The 61-year-old German star won last week in North Carolina.
Jay Haas, the second-round leader after a 65, shot a 74 to tie for third with Fran Quinn (69) and Kent Jones (70) at 9 under. The 64-year-old Haas missed a chance to become the tour’s oldest winner.
The top 72 players qualified for the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs opener. The top 54 move on to the Invesco QQQ Championship next week in Thousand Oaks, California, and the top 36 after that will advance to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix.
Garcia takes lead in suspended Andalucia Valderrama Masters
Tournament host Sergio Garcia had a three-shot lead with 11 holes to play when the Andalucia Valderrama Masters was suspended because of heavy rain and the threat of lightning.
Play was set to resume Monday in the event already cut from 72 to 54 holes.
Garcia was even par for seven holes, making a birdie and a bogey. The tournament winner last year and in 2011, the Spanish star was 10 under at Valderrama Golf Club. England’s Lee Westwood was second.
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