TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Disappointed in his putting after the first two rounds of the Seminole Intercollegiate, Florida State senior captain Brooks Koepka changed his grip back to conventional and practiced on the greens for close to two hours following Saturday’s completion of play.
The result was medalist honors for Koepka as he led the Seminoles to the championship Sunday at Southwood Golf Club.
FSU erased a five-shot deficit to No. 8 Georgia Tech during the final round and captured the title by one stroke with a three-day total of 278-279-272-829 (-23). It’s the Seminoles’ first tournament title since capturing a 1-shot win at the 2010 Seminole Intercollegiate. The 829 54-hole total is FSU’s lowest dating back to the 1993-94 season.
“To say I’m proud of these guys is an understatement,” FSU head coach Trey Jones said. “The scoreboards were everywhere. They knew what they were doing. They were playing against a lot of good teams – and they were trailing against an exceptionally good team in Georgia Tech. They were not going to go away. We needed to go do it, and our guys found a way to go do it in the end. I’m proud of all of them. They didn’t back down.”
The Yellow Jackets had a chance to tie the Garnet & Gold on the final hole, but their No. 1 player, James White, missed a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 18.
Koepka trailed teammate Chase Seiffert by four shots heading into the final round, but matched his season-low round with a 5-under 66 on Sunday. His 54-hole total of 69-69-66-204 (-9) gave him medalist honors for the second time this season. He also won the Brickyard Collegiate Championship in Macon, Ga., in October.
“He’s a senior; he’s our captain,” Jones said. “He’s a former ACC freshman of the year and Co-ACC player of the year. This is when you need guys like him to step up, put the team on their shoulders and get it done. That’s why he’s going to be an All-American.”
Koepka shook off a hole No. 1 bogey and recorded six birdies during the first 12 holes, including four in a row on holes Nos. 9-12. He nearly added another birdie on No. 18, just missing a 25-foot putt. He clinched the individual title with a tap-in five-footer right after, however.
“It’s really nice,” Koepka said. “I’ve been trying to do this for four years. It’s always nice to win your home event. You only get to play in front of your home crowd once a year. We got it done in the final round. It’s a great job by our team. We got comfortable in the middle of the round and got it done down the stretch.”
Seiffert snagged runner-up honors with an 8-under 67-67-71-205 (-8).