Sunday, 12 August 2018
Brooks Koepka  (Getty Images)
Brooks Koepka (Getty Images)

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Brooks Koepka will take a two-shot lead into the final round of the US PGA Championship but he will have a high-class pack trying to chase him down as he goes in search of a second Major of the season.

The two-time defending US Open champion looked like he was going to run away with things at Bellerive Country Club when he opened up a five-shot lead on the back nine but bogeys on the 14th and 15th left the door open to the rest of the field.

Koepka's 66 moved him to 12 under, with 2013 Masters Tournament champion Adam Scott his closest challenger after a 65.

Spaniard Jon Rahm carded a 66 to get to nine under and sit in a tie for third - his best position heading into the final round of a Major - alongside Americans Rickie Fowler and Gary Woodland.

14-time Major winner Tiger Woods was four shots off the lead alongside defending champion Justin Thomas, 2015 winner Jason Day, 2009 Open champion Stewart Cink, 2011 Green Jacket winner Charl Schwartzel and Ireland's Shane Lowry.

Should Koepka claim a third Major title on Sunday afternoon, the 28 year old will become the first man to win the US Open and US PGA Championship titles in the same season since Woods did it en route to the 'Tiger Slam' in 2000.

"I'm just focused on me," he said. "I feel like, if I do what I'm supposed to, I should win the golf tournament. 

"Yeah, there's a lot of star power and it should be, it's a Major Championship. You should see the best players in the world come to the top and that's what you have and that's what's going to make this event very exciting to watch tomorrow.

"You would expect two or three of them to really make a push to get off to a good start and challenge me, I guess. Everybody out here is so good and you look at this leaderboard and they are names that I've grown up watching, that everybody else loves to watch play.

"I feel like I'm extremely confident. I like the way I'm hitting the ball, I'm putting much better and my short game's on point this week. So when all those add up, I could see why I played so well."

I'm just focused on me. I feel like, if I do what I'm supposed to, I should win the golf tournament - Brooks Koepka

The 2014 Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year started the day two shots off Woodland's overnight lead but he put his approach to tap-in range on the first and another brilliant shot on the second had him in top spot on his own.

He holed an 18-footer on the fifth, took advantage of the par five eighth, and when he holed from 11 feet on the ninth, he led by three at the turn.

A hot putter had helped Scott makes birdies on the third, fifth, sixth and eighth but when the Australian three-putted the 15th to slip back to eight under, Koepka held a five-shot lead over a group of seven players.

The leader needed to make smart par saves on the 11th and 13th but back-to-back bogeys followed as he found sand on the 14th and needed a drop from behind a tree on the next.

That let the rest of the field back into it and Scott put his tee-shot on the 16th to two feet before getting on the green in two at the par five 17th and making a birdie to cut the lead to one.

Koepka then took advantage of the 17th himself to have some breathing room heading into the final day of Major golf in 2018.

Rahm parred his first six holes but an approach to five feet on the seventh saw him turn in 34 before he hit another nice second into the tenth. A 34-foot putt on the 16th brought a third birdie of the day and when he capitalised on the 17th, he was nine under.

Woodland turned in level par but found sand three times on the tenth on his way to a triple-bogey before birdieing the 12th and 14th.

Fowler made gains on the sixth and eighth but gave the shots back on the tenth and 13th before making a third birdie of the day on the penultimate hole.

Woods had the huge crowds following him going wild when he birdied the first, second, sixth, seventh and eighth on his way to turning in 31 but he parred his last ten holes in a 66, a score matched by playing partner Cink.

South African Schwartzel turned in level par before birdieing the 17th, while Lowry birdied the sixth, ninth and last with bogeys on the fourth and 13th.

Day had a single blemish in his round of 67, with Thomas sandwiching 13 straight pars with three birdies and a bogey.

Open champion Francesco Molinari was at seven under alongside Made In Denmark winner Julian Suri and another American in Kevin Kisner.

England's Matt Wallace made the 26th hole-in-one of the season and his first as a professional when he holed a five iron from 230 yards on the 16th.

The three-time European Tour winner and reigning Hero Indian Open and BMW International Open champion saw his ball take two bounces and roll into the cup, prompting wild celebrations from player and crowd alike.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1KOEPKA, BrooksUSA18-16
2WOODS, TigerUSA18-14
3SCOTT, AdamAUS18-13
T4CINK, StewartUSA18-11
T4RAHM, JonESP18-11
T6PIETERS, ThomasBEL18-10

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