Koepka wins in Memphis, claims regular-season points title

Brooks Koepka. (Getty Images/AFP)
Updated 29 July 2019

Koepka wins in Memphis, claims regular-season points title

  • Koepka had three birdies in a four-hole stretch on the front nine and cruised to a three-stroke victory

MEMPHIS, Tennessee: Brooks Koepka knows everyone wanted to see a tight final-round duel with Rory McIlroy.
“That would have been incredible for the fans, for everybody that showed up and I’m sure that’s what everybody wanted,” Koepka said.
Too bad Koepka drained all the drama Sunday on the way to his first World Golf Championships title.
Koepka had three birdies in a four-hole stretch on the front nine and cruised to a three-stroke victory in the FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
Playing with McIlroy in their first final-group pairing, the top-ranked Koepka closed with a bogey-free 5-under 65 at TPC Southwind for his seventh PGA Tour title. He finished at 16-under 264.
McIlroy followed his third-round 62 with a 71 to drop into a tie for fourth at 11 under. McIlroy declined to talk to reporters after the round.
“Rory didn’t play the way he wanted to today, but still it’s so much fun to watch him play,” Koepka said. “You kind of get glued watching him hit balls. I mean, it’s mesmerizing watching him hit. You know it’s always nice to squeak out a victory over probably the best player right now.”
Webb Simpson had a 64 to finish second. Marc Leishman (67) was third, four strokes back. Tommy Fleetwood (66) and Matthew Fitzpatrick (69) joined McIlroy at 11 under.
Koepka wrapped up the regular-season points title a week early and claimed a $2 million bonus from the Wyndham Rewards program. He is assured to going into the FedEx Cup playoffs as the No. 1 seed.
Koepka became the sixth player to win a major championship and a World Golf Championship in the same year. He won the PGA Championship for the second straight year in May.
After tapping in for par on No. 18, Koepka celebrated with a little fist pump before hugging McIlroy.
Koepka had been so close in recent weeks, coming in second at the US Open in June and tying for fourth last week at the British Open. He also had a pair of top-10 finishes in this event when it was held at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, and he also won for the first time at the TPC Southwind, where he tied for third in 2015 and tied for second in 2016 when this course hosted the former St. Jude Classic.
Koepka says he feels he knows this course better than any other on tour, and finally winning here and a WGC title, too, is special.
“It’s a thinker’s golf course,” Koepka said. “I probably don’t get enough thought process going through my mind sometimes, just get up and hit it. It gets very routine. A lot of times it’s drivers, but out here you’ve really got to position yourself off the tee depending on where the pin is.”
Now Koepka has come from behind in three of his seven victories, though this time teeing off only a stroke off the lead. When they teed off, Koepka was among 10 players within four strokes of leader McIlroy.
After a couple of pars, Koepka took control.
Koepka rolled in a 9-footer for birdie and a share of the lead on the par-5 third he bogeyed in each of the first two rounds for a nice confidence boost. McIlroy missed his own 4-foot birdie chance a couple inches left after chipping from behind a green-side bunker.
Then Koepka hit his second shot on the par-4 fifth from 185 yards to 5 feet for his second birdie and the outright lead, while McIlroy’s second was on the left fringe with his attempt 5 feet short on yet another par. Koepka birdied his second straight on the par-4 sixth, rolling in a 20-footer for a two-stroke lead .
Koepka padded that lead after the turn, hitting his second from 143 to 8 feet on the par-4 10th. Koepka rolled in the birdie putt to go to 15 under with a three-stroke lead making the only question left whether anyone could get close.
He created the last of the drama by scrambling for par on the next two holes. He put his second into the intermediate rough on the edge of the green on No. 15, forcing him to hole a 9-footer, with a poor chip on the par-5 16th leading to another par. But he clinched the win with a 12-footer on No. 17.
McIlroy had won three of his previous four when shooting at least a 62 in an event. The Northern Irishman who missed the cut at the British Open by a stroke last week just couldn’t keep up with Koepka.
Simpson eagled No. 3 and added a birdie on No. 6. Then he added four birdies on the back nine and tied the best round of the day with his best round since winning the 2018 Players Championship.
“Knowing that Brooks Koepka and Rory are out in front, I knew it needed to be a low round,” Simpson said. “I didn’t have a number in mind. ... Very happy with how the day went.
Divots: Koepka, who won the CJ Cup in South Korea last October, also is the first on tour with three wins this season. ... Justin Thomas, who won this event in Ohio last year, tied for 12th. Johnson, who won the FedEx St. Jude Classic here last year, tied for 20th.


‘Water bottle’ weights lift Abu Dhabi athletes to world record

Updated 03 June 2020

‘Water bottle’ weights lift Abu Dhabi athletes to world record

  • Researchers, students claim Guinness World Record with novel training approach

DUBAI: Using water bottles and school bags full of books as weights helped two Abu Dhabi athletes clinch a Guinness World Record (GWR) in a gruelling physical challenge. 

Eva Clarke and Brandon Chin Loy competed as part of a mixed team to complete 12,502 chest to ground burpees in a 24-hour period, more than double the minimum requirement.

The group, including students from an Abu Dhabi university, attempted the record on May 3 and were told they had succeeded on May 27, the same day some members of the team graduated. 

Clarke, a fitness trainer and mother of three who holds a string of Guinness World Records, told Arab News on Monday that taking part in the latest attempt was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“We started training for this relay event before the lockdown and when the pandemic happened, we thought we had to make the event unique, so we continued to train on Zoom,” she said.

Clarke, who led the fitness classes, held up to 50 workout sessions during the 12-week lockdown, sometimes starting as early as 4:30 a.m.

“Since I had to continue training without access to weights, I made my own by carrying six-packs of water bottles and encouraged the group to do that as well. I am going to miss the online training,” she added.

Clarke’s previous 12 records included most pullups in one hour (female), 12 hours, and 24 hours, equivalent. She also holds titles for the most knuckle pushups in one minute (female), one hour, and 24 hours equivalent, as well as most burpees in 24 hours (female), and 12 hours, most chest to ground pushup burpees in 24 hours (female), and one minute. 

Clarke also completed the fastest marathon carrying a 40 lb. backpack (female) in the 2015 London Marathon.

The burpee, or squat thrust, is a full-body exercise used in strength training and aerobics. The movement is performed in four steps, known as the “four-count burpee.”

The team was joined by two witnesses during their record attempt through a live conference call. 

“For us, the pandemic is no time to turn into a couch potato. Instead, the team challenged each other to double down on their efforts, even if our gym sessions are on hold and we are separated from our teammates,” said Daniel Gill, assistant director of wellness at a UAE university, in a statement by GWR on Sunday.

Brandon Chin Loy, a computer engineering senior at an Abu Dhabi university who broke his first world record, told Arab News on Monday that he set the event as a goal for himself. 

“I trained under Eva, and it was crazy training which used to start at 4:30 a.m.,” he said.

The team trained six times a week and completed 500 burpees an hour along with other cardio exercises, he said.

“We had to get creative with weights, so I packed books in a bag and carried that,” said Chin Loy.

Team member Ivan Camponogara, a researcher in movement science, said: “Coming face to face with physical challenges never seems to deter me. I take on each adversity with a determined mindset and a will to succeed.” 

Shaddy Gaad, senior marketing manager at GWR’s MENA office, said: “They adapted quickly to our newly launched Remote Adjudication service, where we received their application, adjudicated it online, and presented them with the certificate in a chain video.”

Tereza Petrovicova, who celebrated her university graduation and a Guinness World Record on the same day, said: “This cannot be a better day for us. We thank Guinness World Records for accepting remote adjudication. This online feature creates two measures of accountability, and we did not want to be left behind the eight ball.”

Anna Erdi, who also graduated with a degree in psychology, said: “Mind and body are linked together. All it takes is just one decision to change your attitude 180 degrees. Once that decision is taken, normal will be different. It will not be the same normal, but it can be a better normal.”

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