FedEx St Jude Invitational: Rory McIlroy beaten by Brooks Koepka in Memphis

Ross Houston
July 31, 2019

McIlroy shot an 8-under 62 on Saturday in the FedEx St. Jude Invitational to take a one-stroke lead over Brooks Koepka at the World Golf Championships event. Although, you wouldn't know it by his prep work.

For Koepka, 29, it was payback for his tied fourth at the Open in a stunning season in which he was also second to Tiger Woods at the Masters, won the PGA Championship and was second at the US Open.

It was the first time Koepka and McIlroy had been paired in a final round, raising hopes of a day-long duel.

Victor of the season's first major, the ANA Inspiration in April, Ko closed out the victory after playing partner and longtime leader Hyo Joo Kim lost control with a triple bogey at the par-3 14th.

McIlroy followed his third-round 62 with a 71 to drop into a tie for fourth at 11 under.

However, McIlroy could not even finish second as Koepka shot a bogeyless 65 to his rival's error-strewn 71.

"I had a lot of good (approach yardage) numbers where I could go ahead and make a full committed swing", he told CBS television. "Everything comes if you wait". Wolff won the 3M Open in Minnesota three weeks ago, making an eagle putt on the final hole to beat Morikawa.

Now Koepka has come from behind in three of his seven victories, though this time he teed off only a stroke off the lead. It's incredible to look at how much you could have won today, and to do it, it's been incredible.

Koepka's nearest challenger at TPC Southwind turned out to be fellow American Webb Simpson.

With his third victory of the season, Koepka wraps up the regular-season points title a week early and claims a $2 million bonus from the Wyndham Rewards program.

Overnight leader Fitzpatrick had six birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey in a roller-coaster round as the five-time European Tour victor chases his first US PGA triumph. That's maybe the most remarkable part about Koepka. "I wasn't taking my usual tempo; just a little out of rhythm". Maybe it takes almost $4 million (what he earned on Sunday) to get him out of bed and into his parking spot at all.

"Incredible", he said a couple of times. But there's an equally good chance that they're not. "I was putting the ball in the correct spot and overall, I'm very pleased".

Watch highlights of Tournament Leader Rory McIlroy as he shoots his lowest ever WGC round during Day 3 at the 2019 WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. He shot 6-under 64 to go 13 under through the week.

The four-time major victor shot up the field from joint 17th to first after a round that featured nine birdies, including three in a row to finish. He finished second in strokes gained on the week, relying on his trusty putter to play a tremendous 72 holes in Memphis. He led the field at 12-under through 54 holes before succumbing to the inevitability that is Brooks Koepka, but a solid outing after a disappointing out a week ago is impressive mettle from one of the most gifted golfers on tour.

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