Brooks Koepka chips in for eagle on 17, wins Waste Management Phoenix Open

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Todd Kelly
·2 min read
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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Four of the last five Waste Management Phoenix Opens ended up going to a playoff.

That’s always nerve-racking for sports fans wanting to see the conclusion before flipping over to the Super Bowl, and the 2021 edition was shaping up to deliver another one.

On a sun-splashed Sunday, many golfers were stuck in neutral.

Third-round co-leaders Jordan Spieth and Xander Schauffele started the day up by three but they fell back to the pack. James Hahn went up three shots after 10 holes before falling back into a tie. Carlos Ortiz closed with birdies on 17 and 18 to grab a share of the lead.

And then there’s 2015 Phoenix Open champ Brooks Koepka, who snapped a streak of three straight missed cuts—a career-high—and then made a Sunday charge at TPC Scottsdale.

Just 1 under on the front nine, Koepka birdied 13, 14 and 15 to tie for the lead at 17 under. Two holes later, he chipped in for eagle from about 100 feet away to go up two on the field.

He closed with a tap-in par on 18 for a final-round 65 to finish 19 under and then sent a few text messages as he waited for the field to come in.

Spieth—who shot a thrilling 61 on Saturday—went 2 over on the front while Schauffele was even for the day through 16 holes. On 17, they both drove their tee shots into the water. Spieth made par but Schauffele took a bogey.

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K.H. Lee birdied the 15th to get to 17 under to briefly tie for the lead. He later got to 18 under but could get no closer after shooting a 68. Rory McIlroy, playing the tournament for the first time, went 70-67-70 over the first three days but shot a closing 7-under 64. He and Ortiz tied for the low round on Sunday. And 53-year-old Steve Stricker birdied 15 and 16 to make things interesting. He shot a final-round 67.

In the end, it was Koepka hoisting the trophy for the first time on Tour since the 2019 WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. He won three times that season but was winless last year.

After Friday’s round, he said: “I do know it’s been a long time so I’m itching to get a W.”

Well, he got that W on Sunday, his second at the Phoenix Open. He is the 16th player to win the event twice.