Open Championship

Koepka traces success to Scotland, aims Open win

2018-07-18 10:35
Brooks Koepka (Gallo Images)

Carnoustie - It was just five years ago that Brooks Koepka won the Scottish Hydro Challenge to earn a spot on the European Tour.

He's got fond memories of that, and even bigger things in mind at the Open Championship in Scotland this week.

"Right now I'm focused on just winning," the two-time US Open champion said on Tuesday. "That's the only thing I've got on my mind. Second place just isn't good enough. I finished second a lot and just tired of it."

Koepka was an aspiring young pro in search of his first big break when he came to Europe in 2012 to play the Challenge Tour. He won three times, including the victory in 2013 that got him on the European Tour.

His life has changed a lot since then, but Koepka remembers the fun he had on his way up.

"I didn't have any options when I turned pro except to come over here and play," he said.

"I enjoyed it. And I know I've said this a million times, it was the most fun I've ever had playing golf. Probably the funnest time of my life coming over here and playing. I enjoyed it way more than I probably do now, playing on the tour."

Koepka qualified for his first Open Championship the day after his win in Scotland, but not before having to get out of a taxi to help change a flat tire on the way to play in the qualifier.

After winning a second US Open title last month at Shinnecock, he's eager to try to win an Open on this side of the pond.

"The last major I played I won, so I've got confidence," he said.

TROPHY TIME

Dustin Johnson has been given one trophy already this week.

The top-ranked player in the world can only hope he gets one more.

Johnson was honored on Tuesday with the Mark H. McCormack Award for being No 1 in the world more weeks than anyone in 2017. Johnson claimed the top spot in February 2017 and held it the rest of the year.

He has been No 1 this entire year except for four weeks when Justin Thomas replaced him. McCormack was behind the creation of the world ranking, which became official in 1986.

Johnson likes his chances to be on top of the leaderboard this week as well.

"I feel the game is in really good form this week. I've had four weeks off, so I've had a lot of rest," Johnson said. "I feel good about the game. I've had a lot of practice. I got here Saturday and played the course quite a few times. I think it's going to be a good test."

Johnson has won only one major, the 2016 US Open, and is eager to add another to his trophy case after losing a lead in the US Open last month to eventual winner Koepka.

"I've given myself a lot of chances," he said. "But as we all know, it's very hard to win in a major. You've got to play four really good rounds, and everything in your game has to be working."

Read more on:    the open  |  dustin johnson  |  brooks koepka  |  golf

 

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