MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — 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 close in recent weeks, coming in second at the U.S. Open in June and tying for fourth 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.

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. 

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.

 

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