Monday, 13 August 2018
Brooks Koepka  (Getty Images)
Brooks Koepka (Getty Images)

Brooks Koepka held off the challenges of a resurgent Tiger Woods and Adam Scott to win his second Major of the season at the US PGA Championship.

The two-time defending US Open champion entered day four with a two-shot lead and that was how he ended it but that did not tell the story of a dramatic afternoon at Bellerive Country Club.

Koepka was caught by defending champion Justin Thomas on the front nine and Australian Scott on the way home but kept his cool to record birdies on the 15th and 16th and sign for a 66 to get to 16 under.

Woods' 64 was his lowest ever final round in a Major and a birdie on the last moved him one shot ahead of Scott who finished at 13 under.

Spaniard Jon Rahm and American Stewart Cink were then five shots behind the winner, one clear of Thomas, Open champion Francesco Molinari, Belgian Thomas Pieters and another American in Gary Woodland.

The victory for Koepka means he is the first man to win the US Open and US PGA Championship in the same year since Woods achieved the feat in 2000 on his way to the 'Tiger Slam', and only the fifth person to do it in history.

In winning his third Major, the 2014 Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year also becomes the first player to win more than one in a season since Jordan Spieth in 2015, and his aggregate total of 264 is the joint-lowest in Major history - matching Henrik Stenson's score at the 2016 Open Championship.

The 28 year old's stunning season is all the more remarkable considering he did not play any events between the first week in January and last week in April due to a wrist injury.

"When I look at what I've done in the past two months, it's incredible," he said. "Looking where I was, sitting on my couch watching the Masters, and to think I would do this, I would have laughed at you and told you there was no way, no chance, and to do it is really incredible.

"I think sitting on the couch made me really appreciate how much I actually love this game and love competition.

"I think, other than me, my team, everybody was rooting for Tiger, as they should. He's the greatest player to ever play the game and to have the comeback that he's having is incredible. 

"I'm excited for the next few years. Tiger's come back. You look at what Dustin's doing, Justin, Rory, Spieth, it's a great time to be a golf fan. I can't wait to duel it out with them over the next couple years or next however long."

The last of Woods' 14 Major Championships came ten years ago but after a decade of injury troubles, the four-time US PGA champion has raised hopes he could once again win one of golf's big four.

Scott won the Masters Tournament five years ago but has slipped to 76th in the Official World Golf Ranking and this is his best Major finish since the 2013 Open Championship.

Woods was completely dialled-in with his irons in the early stages, holing from four feet on the second and putting his tee-shot on the third to half that distance but he was still three off the lead when Koepka holed from eight feet on the first.

When I look at what I've done in the past two months, it's incredible - Brooks Koepka

Koepka three-putted the fourth and when he found the right rough twice on the next, he had been caught, with Woods also dropping a shot on the sixth.

The 42 year old got up and down from the sand on the par five eighth for a birdie and bent an incredible approach to the ninth to 11 feet on the next to turn in 32 but he was still three behind.

That was because Koepka holed a ten-footer on the seventh, made the most of the eighth and hit a sparkling second into the ninth to turn in 33 himself.

Scott had bogeyed the first but he made a 14-footer on the seventh and also took advantage of the eighth to keep in touch.

Koepka then made five consecutive pars and when Woods put an approach to five feet on the 12th and a tee-shot to ten feet on the 13th, he was in solo second.

Scott would not be outdone, however, and he holed from 25 feet on the ninth, 13 feet on the 12th and hit a wonderful tee-shot of his own into the 13th to share the lead.

Woods bogeyed the 14th but when he hit the shot of the day to within a foot on the next, the atmosphere reached fever pitch.

Koepka though was utterly unflappable, holing a ten-footer to lead and putting his tee-shot to six feet on the 16th, before Woods and Scott swapped positions with a two-shot swing on the last.

Rahm signed for a 68 for his second top five in a Major this season, while 2009 Open champion Cink went one shot better.

Pieters signed for a 66 and Molinari carded a 67 to sit a shot ahead Rafa Cabrera Bello and Tyrrell Hatton, who both registered bogey-free rounds of 64.

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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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