Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Koepka joins golf greats with US PGA win

Ian Poulter fired a three-under 67 despite only one practice day Ian Poulter fired a three-under 67 despite only one practice day
Edward Snyder | 13 August, 2018, 17:43

Brooks Koepka celebrates with the Wanamaker Trophy after winning the PGA Championship golf tournament at Bellerive Country Club.

Woods electrified the crowd with some superb shot-making, bringing roars from spectators to rival anything he inspired during his prime.

Despite finishing second, the extraordinary hype surrounding the 14-time major victor has meant that the result has somewhat overshadowed the achievement of young talent Brooks Koepka - who won his third major title and maiden PGA Championship.

Australian Adam Scott, who drew level with Koepka on the back nine, finished third, a further stroke behind.

Nobody moved in or out of the top eight on the American Ryder Cup standings after the PGA Championship but Tiger Woods removed any question about whether he would be worthy of a captain's pick.

"Not that they were gimmes, by any means, but I hit pretty good putts, especially on 15". But after the scrambling, club-slamming, fist-pumping, electrifying show he put on over a round of 6-under 64 _ his best closing round at a major _ who can argue that golf isn't more fun when Tiger's in the mix? "A bit of a struggle with my game today, but I hung in there". With just two holes left to make up ground, Woods needed to go no worse than two-under on the final two holes to give himself a shot.

His low round of the week came paired with Tiger Woods on Saturday amongst an enormous gallery.

"But shooting 70, 65, 65, 67 is good golf at a major championship, and I will be taking confidence out of that for sure".

He takes the par to stay one behind the leaders with two holes to play. "I was hanging in there, grinding it out". "Players try to downplay it, and I've downplayed it over the years myself, but it's a pretty intense environment out there". Tiger hasn't won a major since 2008, but he's on the right track. Of his four PGA Tour wins, three are majors.

Now, if he can only get the putter to cooperate.




"Surreal, that's all I can say", Koepka said. "It kind of pushes you to step up your game".

"The crowds here, they let you know what's going on", Koepka said with a big grin.

If Woods could have birdied - or even eagled - the 11th hole, it is easy to imagine the final few holes playing differently.

Tiger just has to wait and see if he makes the squad. I'm getting a lot of support, which is nice.

It's hard to surmise, at the moment, just how good, in historical terms, Koepka might be. "Three majors at 28 - it's a cool feeling".

Playing in the final pair alongside Koepka, Scott bagged three birdies at the beginning of the back nine to join the Florida native in a share of the lead with five holes remaining.

It was a commanding performance, making it three wins in his last six major appearances, and one that Woods clearly appreciated, breaking a habit of a lifetime by waiting outside the recorder's hut to congratulate Koepka with a hug.

Woods and Koepka played nine holes of a practice round Wednesday, and the 14-time major champion knew what he was up against.

Regardless, the third-place finish marks a significant improvement on recent years as the world number 76 battles back to the form that saw him take out the 2013 Masters at Augusta.

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