Brooks Koepka wins third PGA Championship to seal fifth major title
Brooks Koepka won his third PGA Championship on Sunday at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York, winning his fifth major title.
A commanding final round saw the American finish at nine-under par, two shots ahead of compatriot Scotty Scheffler and Norway’s Viktor Hovland, who played their part in a blistering final day.
The 33-year-old became the first golfer to win a major while playing on the LIV Golf Series. Australia’s Cameron Smith joins the Saudi-backed breakaway tour in July 2022, a month after his victory at the Open Championship.
It marks a long-awaited return to the top for Koepka, who fell from the top due to injury after winning a pair of back-to-back PGA Championship and US Open Cups in an unprecedented run between 2017 and 2019. had faced
Koepka fell just short of winning the Masters last month, taking a two-stroke lead into the final round before finishing runner-up to Spain’s Jon Rahm. However, in the second men’s major of the season, he navigated terrible conditions before taking the lead on the final day to win the Wanamaker Trophy.
In doing so, he joins Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus as the third golfer in the strokeplay era to win three or more PGA Championships, and the 20th to win five or more men’s majors.
“It’s awesome, it’s wild,” Koepka said during his winning interview.
“I look back at where we were two years ago, with everything that’s going on. I’m so happy right now, I’m at a loss for words, but it’s the best thing ever.
“I’ll be honest I’m not even sure I dreamed as a kid that I was going to win so many. It’s the best thing and I’m happy to do it in front of these New York fans, I love you.”
Hovland fought valiantly in his bid to become the first Norwegian to win a men’s major, but his challenge was derailed by a double bogey on the 16th hole. The 25-year-old has now finished in the top seven in three consecutive majors.
World no. 2 Scheffler started the final round in fifth place but climbed up the leaderboard with a fifth-under 65, two better than Koepka and three better than Hovland.
The fantasy-fueled story at Oak Hill had a wonderful ending, penned by Michael Block, the club pro who became one of the stars of the tournament with his outstanding play.
The 46-year-old made a sensational hole-in-one en route to a one-over-par total to seal a share of 15th place at Louisville’s Valhalla Golf Club and stamp his ticket to next year’s 106th edition of the major. made a shot , Kentucky.
“I’m living the dream,” an emotional Block said after his round.
“I’m making sure I enjoy the moment. I’ve learned that after 46 years of my life, it’s not going to get any better than this. There is no way.”
Reigning champion Justin Thomas faces a disappointing defense of the title he won in dramatic fashion a year ago. 3rd PGA A championship title never looked on the cards for the American, who carded a 12-over total to finish tied for 65th.
After two days of rain and wind following a cold-delayed opening round, the sun finally broke on Oak Hill, setting the stage for a low score after much of the field struggled.
Koepka competed well in the adverse conditions despite a slow start. The American shot back-to-back disappointing two-over 72s, round-best four-under 66s to take a one-stroke lead over Canada’s Corey Connors and Hovland into the final round.
There was nothing slow about his Sunday start, as Koepka tapped in his third consecutive birdie at the fourth hole to rocket to a four-stroke lead. It was a role reversal at last month’s Masters, when John Rahm pulled away from chasing Koepka with a flurry of early birdies.
Yet Hovland – resplendent in a psychedelic orange shirt – looked determined to hold off a procession, immediately responding with back-to-back birdies of his own to cut the lead to two.
His fightback was boosted when Koepka chipped his tee drive into the water on the dreaded sixth hole, the toughest hole of the tournament. After a lengthy discussion with the rules official, the American was awarded a drop in front of the hazard.
A brilliant approach saw Koepka run away with a bogey, a result that was easier to stomach when his Norwegian opponent – in bunker trouble – fell just short of making the lead.
A pair of pair of bogeys on the latter hole suggested the first signs of strain, nerves not helped by Scheffler gathering further momentum in pursuit of his second major title.
Brooks Koepka won the fourth major of his career
Momentum continued to swing back and forth as the leading pair traded blows, with Hovland agonizingly winning as his birdie putt went out before Koepka replicated the reaction when his attempt to save par was par later. Fate was faced.
It was a blistering battle at the top, though for a few magical minutes all eyes and cameras were trained on the 15th hole, and Block’s ball nestled comfortably in it. After a fairytale week at Oak Hill, the 46-year-old club pro found space to write another surreal chapter when his tee shot went 151 yards, without a bounce, straight into the cup.
The crowd, in support of the underdog all week, went into hysterics. A high-five and a hug from playing partner McIlroy for an unbelievable block, who then set off on his long walk to collect his ball, were serenaded from all sides.
Back at the top, the tussle between the leading pair continued, with Hovland matching Koepka stride for stride with just three holes to play.
Then, on the 16th hole, disaster struck for the young Norwegian. In identical scenes from Connors nearly 24 hours earlier, Hovland — standing in the same patch of sand — lip-smapped his bunker-busting attempt.
It was almost a shot-for-shot remake of the Canadian horror film, and the result was the same. Hovland double bogeyed, Koepka birdied clinically, and the Norwegian now had a four stroke size mountain to climb. Scheffler’s closing birdie to jump a fraction of a second rubbed more salt into the wounds.
But the day belonged to Koepka who, after putting to within inches of the 18th hole, flashed a bright smile on his short walk to tap home for par and the championship.