BELEK, Turkey (AP) — Brooks Koepka claimed his maiden European Tour title after overcoming a two-shot deficit in the final round to win the Turkish Airlines Open by a stroke on Sunday.
The American player shot a final-round 7-under 65 for an overall 17 under 271 that edged England’s Ian Poulter.
“I feel like I’ve been playing really well and 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,” Koepka said. “I also 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. It showed I guess.”
Poulter had a chance to force a playoff but missed a five-foot birdie putt on the last. The Englishman secured his best finish all season but was left lamenting the missed opportunity on the final green.
“Disappointing in the outcome but hat’s off to a great round today from Brooks as he’s played some superb golf there,” Poulter said. “It’s frustrating, is what it is. There’s no other word for it. Yes, I’m going to be angry. I’ll be angry for a good few days. But that’s fine. I’ll keep myself in my own little room and have a little chat with myself and come out and win next week.”
The win means Koepka will finish the year ranked inside the top 50, which carries an automatic invitation to the Masters.
“I’ve had kind of had Augusta on the schedule since playing in the U.S. Open this year,” he said. “So that invitation is going to be nice and I was actually told in the locker room, I didn’t even know at the time. My dad somehow knew it, which I have no clue he said something to me and I was like, OK, right, funny.
“But yes, definitely looking forward to that. That will be great as growing up, watching that tournament, has always been special.”
Koepka, who won four times on the secondary Challenge Tour over the past two seasons, jumped from 43rd to sixth in the Race to Dubai standings and becomes one of the favorites to be named European Tour Rookie of the Year.
Other results ensured that top-ranked Rory McIlroy captured the 2014 Race to Dubai crown, his second in three years, after his nearest rivals failed to win here.
McIlroy will return to competition for next week’s European Tour season-ending DP World Tour Championship with the title in the bag with nearest challengers Jamie Donaldson, Sergio Garcia and Marcel Siem no longer within striking distance.
The Northern Irishman was among the first to congratulate Koepka, taking to Twitter.