Welcome to the Dew Sweeper, your one-stop shop to catch up on the weekend action from the golf world. From the professional tours, trending news, social media headlines and upcoming events, here’s every golf-related thing you need to know for the morning of July 29.
Brooks wins in Memphis, locks up POY
It was billed as a heavyweight fight. Though it proved not much of a bout, Brooks Koepka leaves Memphis as golf’s undisputed champ.
With a bogey-free 64 on Sunday, Koepka cruised to a three-shot victory at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
“It’s so special,” Koepka said. “Everything here, St. Jude, it gives me chills even thinking about it. It’s been one of my favorite stops on tour for four or five years now. To win here is really special to me.”
Koepka drew pre-round attention for a belated arrival to TPC Southwind. But while Brooks appeared just 45 minutes before his tee time, it was his playing partner who pulled the no-show.
Rory McIlroy boasts two wins in 2019 and has a chance to post the best non-Tiger strokes-gained figure in PGA Tour history. However, his infamous Sunday struggles manifested again. Starting the round a stroke ahead of Koepka, McIlroy came undone with shaky iron play, and his fickle putter failed to produce any magic. McIlroy’s one-over 71 was one of the highest scores in the 63-player field, leaving him in a tie for fourth.
Conversely, this was a matter of Koepka winning rather than McIlroy losing. Coming off a near-perfect Saturday, Koepka wasn’t as sharp in the final round, hitting just 11 greens on the afternoon. Yet he birdied three of the first six holes to take a two-shot lead into the back, extending it was another red figure at the 10th. Webb Simpson’s 64 applied a bit of heat toward the end, but Koepka doused those flames with a birdie at the 17th to seal the win.
A profitable win at that. Along with the $1.75 million from the FedEx St. Jude, Koepka grabbed another $2 million as the inaugural winner of the Wyndham Rewards Top 10 as the top regular-season points earner. And though his case over McIlroy was already strong, Koepka’s WGC title erases any debate of Player of the Year honors.
“It’s incredible,” Koepka said. “To look at what I’ve done this year, just show consistency, try to take my game I guess to a new level and I’ve done that.”
Morikawa earns breakthrough at Barracuda
Collin Morikawa earned his tour card two weeks ago. The Cal product got a trophy to go with it.
In just his sixth professional start, the 22-year-old shot a bogey-free 65 at Montreux Golf & Country Club on Sunday, a score that tallied as 14 points under the tournament’s Stableford format. With 47 points in total, Morikawa beat Troy Merritt—whose eagle chip on the final hole slid by the flag—to win the tour’s Barracuda Championship.
“Speechless,” Morikawa said. “My heart was beating really fast. To be in that position is something I wanted to do all summer.”
Though he entered the summer with less hype than the Oklahoma State duo of Matthew Wolff and Viktor Hovland, Morikawa has more than proved his merit, highlighted by a duel with Wolff at the 3M Open and a T-4 at the John Deere Classic. Due to the Barracuda’s alternate event status, he does not earn an invitation to the Masters, but does get entry into the 2020 PGA Championship, the Players Championship and Tournament of Champions. Moreover, the win also bestows him passage to the tour’s postseason with a realistic shot at the Tour Championship (Morikawa stands 47th in the FedEx Cup standings).
“I think the gates are open,” Morikawa said. “I’ve been knocking on the door the past month or so, and the game’s been feeling good.”
Morikawa becomes the fifth newbie to win this year, following Cam Champ, Adam Long, Martin Trainer and Wolff.
Wilson self-reports DQ
It wouldn’t be a week in golf without a rules run-in. Mentioned above, the Barracuda does things a little differently than its tournament brethren, the only competition on tour to use Stableford scoring. It still adheres to the Rules of Golf however, which is how Mark Wilson found himself disqualified on Sunday morning.
Wilson self-reported a violation of USGA Rule 4.3 (use of equipment) regarding a green-reading book. Under the latest iteration to the Rules of Golf, these materials are limited in scale for green diagrams to where a grid can be no more precise than 3/8-inch equaling 5 yards of the green. It also restricts the size of the book that contains any green information to the current pocket-sized form of most yardage books (approximately 4 1/4 inches by 7 inches). Earlier this year at the Honda Classic, Alex Cejka became the first victim of the directive, as an old green-reading book violates the new parameters. According to Wilson, a former notepad did him in as well.
“Sad to report but had to disqualify myself this morning for using a non conforming greens book during [Barracuda Championship],” wrote Wilson on Twitter. “Why I didn’t think of it before the tournament started, I have no idea…
“The confusion for me was that my 2014 greens book fit in my yardage book so I didn’t think that it wouldn’t comply with the scaling limit … I used it a few times only but once is too many. Live and learn!”
Wilson, 44, has five career wins on tour, the last coming in 2012. Though he’s made 387 starts, the Barracuda was just his third appearance this season. Wilson ended Saturday in a tie for 51st.
Langer notches No. 40 at Royal Lytham
Even by senior standards, Bernhard Langer is getting up there in age. His game remains timeless.
A month shy of his 62nd birthday, Langer erased a three-stroke deficit to Paul Broadhurst with a front-nine 30 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, and Langer’s four-under 66 in cold, rainy conditions proved to be good enough for a two-shot win at the Senior Open.
“I love holding this trophy,” Langer said. “It’s a beautiful one. I never got to hold the Open Championship trophy, but this is the next best thing and I’m very blessed to have won four of these now.”
Those four are a Senior Open record, with this victory giving him 40 career wins on the PGA Tour Champions, five away from Hale Irwin’s all-time mark. The victory also comes after a slump—at least by his standards—quelling the notion that the seemingly-eternal German was beginning to wear.
Or perhaps this championship merely proved his panacea. Langer’s finished in the top two in 12 career Senior Open starts, and ended outside the top 10 once.
Ko takes Evian off Kim’s mistake
Thanks to late-round heroics and a good friend’s bad luck, Jin Young Ko captured the Evian Championship by two.
Ko—who also won the ANA Inspiration in April—turned in a four-under 67 in Évian-les-Bains on Sunday, an impressive score in the Evian’s rain-swept final round. However, Ko greatly benefited from the mistake of playing partner, and buddy, Hyo Joo Kim. The overnight leader found her tee shot at the par-3 14th plugged in a bunker, and her second shot popped up into her footprints. Kim’s third found the fringe and three-putted from there, conferring a two-stroke lead to Ko.
“The lie was so bad. It was really unlucky for Hyo Joo,” said Ko.
Ko capped her round off with a birdie at the 17th, providing a tension-free walk up the final hole.
With the victory, Ko is projected to become the new World No. 1. The reigning Rookie of the Year also is atop the LPGA’s money list. Speaking of money, Jennifer Kupcho secured a $289,000 check for finishing in a tie for second. Kupcho, who won the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur in April, was making just her second major appearance as a professional, and the finish likely earned her a tour card for next season.
“It’s crazy,” Kupcho, a former NCAA champ, said. “It’s exciting to see that I can compete.”