After the third round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Brooks Koepka was asked about his chances heading into Sunday. The answer was matter of fact – and prophetic.
“Yeah, just got to be within three on the back nine,” he said. “Anything can happen here.”
Koepka – who entered the final nine 14-under par while the leaders eventually made the turn at 17 under – birdied 13, 14 and 15 before holing out a pitch shot on the short, par-4 17th for an eagle that allowed him to race past the leaders and eventually secure a one-shot win at TPC Scottsdale.
When you think of Koepka, it’s logical to think of his prodigious game off the tee. Or perhaps his precision iron play. And both would be accurate. At the Waste Management, Koepka ranked 13th in strokes gained/off-the-tee, picking up more than two shots on the field while averaging 321.1 yards off the tee, ranked 10th.
Koepka has a new driver in the bag this week, replacing his TaylorMade M5 with the company’s newer SIM2 with the same 10.5 degrees of loft and Mitsubishi Diamana D-LTD 60 shaft he had in his old driver.
He also ranked second in strokes gained/approach-the-green, picking up more than six shots on the field in that stat while leading the field in greens in regulation, hitting 62 of 72 for a staggering 86.11 percent. Koepka’s irons are Srixon’s ZX7 model, which he put in play at The American Express.
“I just felt like the irons were going a little bit higher,” he said when asked what he liked about his new irons. “The ball flight was pretty good. The way it goes through the turf. They don’t stick, because I do come in pretty steep on it.”
But the four-time Major champion, finally healthy after a myriad of injuries, will likely remember this event for the nifty pitch from 32 yards out on the 17th that rolled right in the hole. The club Koepka used for that was an old friend – a 60-degree Titleist Vokey SM4 TVD model, the same style lob wedge he has used to win all his majors with.
In other words, when it comes to the now eight-time PGA Tour winner, he’s a bomber with a complete skill set.
What Brooks Koepka had in the bag at the 2021 Waste Management Phoenix Open:
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Driver: TaylorMade SIM2, 10.5 degrees
3-wood: TaylorMade M2 (2017), 16.5 degrees
Irons (3): Nike Vapor Fly Pro; (4-PW): Srixon ZX7
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM8 (52, 56 degrees); Titleist Vokey SM4 TVD (60 degrees)
Putter: Scotty Cameron by Titleist Newport 2 SLT 10