Healthy again, Koepka eagles 17, rallies to win Phoenix Open

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Brooks Koepka poses with the trophy after winning a PGA golf tournament on Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – At the lowest points in an 18-month struggle with left knee and hip injuries, Brooks Koepka wondered if he'd ever be back at all, let alone recapture the magic that carried him to four major championships.

“It’s been a wild ride for the last year and a half and very frustrating,” Koepka said. “I’ve had moments where I didn’t know if I was going to be the same, if I could even come back.”

He looked as good as ever on the back nine Sunday in the Waste Management Phoenix Open, rallying for a victory that didn't seem possible not that long ago.

“I went through it mentally," Koepka said. "I think that’s probably the toughest thing, where you don’t know if you’re ever going to be the same competitor that you were. You go through some real dark places, and it’s not a fun place to be.”

It was sunny and fun Sunday in the desert, especially on the 17th hole. That's where he chipped in from 32 yards for his second eagle of the day to break a tie for the lead. A routine par on the 18th gave him a one-stroke victory.

Five strokes behind Jordan Spieth and Xander Schauffele entering the round, Koepka shot a 6-under 65 to finish at 19-under 265. He also won in 2015 at TPC Scottsdale for the first of his eight PGA Tour titles.

On the 334-yard 17th, Koepka hit a fairway wood 305 yards to the fairway short and left of the green, then holed out to the largest roar of the day from the crowd limited to 5,000 a day.

“I felt like the chip, if I just caught it right in the fringe it was going to check up on me, and it did perfectly,” he said. “Took a nice little right kick for me, and didn’t look anywhere else but the hole.”