Newly-crowned Turkish Airlines Open champ Brooks Koepka intends leaning on unopposed 2014 Race to Dubai winner and good friend, Rory McIlroy to pick up the dinner bill later this week in Dubai.
One of the very first ‘tweets’ Koepka received was from McIlroy after the Florida golfer captured a maiden European Tour title with a final round 65 for a one shot victory at 17-under par on the Montgomerie Maxx Royal course.
England’s Ian Poulter let slip forcing a play-off in missing a five-foot birdie putt on the final green to hand Koepka a whopping €930,740 prize cheque. Sweden’s Henrik Stenson shot a best round 64 to grab third and also move into second place on the Race to Dubai. However the Swede, who was crowned European No. 1 a year ago, trails McIlroy by €2,726,614 which is more than double the first prize cheque on offer should Stenson successfully defend his DP World Tour Championship title.
McIlroy’s second Race to Dubai title in three years also is justice after the four-time Major winner was denied the PGA Tour No.1 crown given the make-up of their FedEx Cup Play-Off Series.
McIlroy said: “This has obviously been the best season of my career by a long way, and to win The Race to Dubai for the second time really is something truly special. That four-week spell over the summer, from The Open to the US PGA Championship, would have to be the best golf of my life, so I feel I’ve really earned The Race to Dubai. Winning it for the first time two years ago was a fantastic feeling, but I feel like I’m now a more complete player and my all-round game has moved to another level.
“In some ways the pressure is off next week, but I’ll fight hard to end the year on a high with another victory. Finishing with five birdies to win the DP World Tour Championship in 2012 is right up there with my best performances on the European Tour, so every time I go back to Jumeirah Golf Estates it always brings back some happy memories. It’s a great tournament to finish the season with and if I can notch up another win it really will complete an amazing year.”
But while Koepka and McIlroy were celebrating Shane Lowry’s top-50 World Ranking quest nose-dived under a final round 73 and crash to a share of 25th. In fact, Lowry was among seven players tied for the lead on 12-under par when he eagled the fourth but then tripled the next, doubled the sixth and bogeyed the eighth.