Koepka eyes third major title in final-round PGA drama


With his win at the 2018 PGA Championship, Koepka is the first golfer since Jordan Spieth in 2015 to win two majors in one year.

Adam Scott was poised to pull off a successful sneak attack at the PGA Championship on Sunday, quietly hanging around the top of the leaderboard while all the attention was elsewhere.

Koepka's lapse also brought many more players into the frame, with halfway leader Gary Woodland, Spain's Jon Rahm and Rickie Fowler on nine under and Woods four off the pace alongside defending champion Justin Thomas, Ireland's Shane Lowry, Jason Day, Stewart Cink and Charl Schwartzel. "I knew this was going to be a struggle to try and piece together a round, and I did".

As the putts kept dropping, the roars got louder.

Just a few months ago, watching Woods chip from a bunker or putt along a tricky slope was cause to wonder if he could salvage a hole.

"I made sure on 17 I did".

Koepka was responsible for that.

It came at the 15th, where he rolled in a 10-foot birdie putt, and then Koepka slammed the door with a laser of an iron shot at the par-3 16th that rolled to seven feet.

Best of all was making the cut on the number at even-par 140, the lowest score to make a cut in the 60 years of stroke play at the PGA Championship.

Three-time major victor Jordan Spieth, needing only the PGA to complete a career Grand Slam, shared 28th on 206 and appeared unlikely to make a charge at history in the final round.

More news: Big-hitters beat up on Bellerive at PGA Championships
More news: Imran Khan to be sworn in as PM Aug 18
More news: Jose Mourinho needs two deadline day deals, says Wayne Rooney

In the end, though, it was Koepka who held off the entire field and walked away with his second major title of the year.

Koepka carded a closing 66 in a breathless final round at Bellerive Country Club to finish two shots ahead of Tiger Woods, joining the runner-up, Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus as the only players to win the US Open and US PGA in the same season.

Finau began this wild ride Friday afternoon with five straight birdies, four of them from between 20 and 25 feet, the shortest one at 12 feet. "It's actually pretty windy today and I'm staying in the shade as best as I can".

"The roars were pretty unbelievable", second-ranked 2017 PGA victor Justin Thomas said. "You're going to have to make some birdies".

But for all the buzz Woods generated on Saturday, the reality is that capturing a 15th major from four shots back of the front-running Brooks Koepka will require something special.

That was as good as it got.

Woods was also lucky at the par-five 17th, where he sprayed his drive so far right it finished the other side of the creek that lines the fairway. His ball ended up in a gnarly tuft of rough and he was unable to advance the ball to the green and save par. It failed him all day Saturday, when he could not convert birdie putts to close his second round and throughout his third round during a 29-hole day in the St. Louis heat.

And he has. Koepka seemed surprised when he was informed that his 72-hole score had been the lowest in PGA Championship history, and when he was asked about the legacy he's building-three majors at age 28 puts a man on a certain pedestal-he admitted he hadn't yet considered the gravitas of the day.

"It's tough to beat when the guy hits it 340 [yards] down the middle, that's tough", Woods said of Koepka after the round. "What he did at Shinnecock, just bombing it, and then he's doing same thing here".

Koepka never imagined a year like this. He parred his first four holes, before bogeying the fifth.