Koepka spoils Tiger’s run to win PGA Championship
The roars had been in contrast to something Brooks Koepka had ever heard, and he knew precisely what they meant.
They received louder for every birdie by Tiger Woods that moved him nearer to the lead Sunday within the PGA Championship, and Koepka may hear a ripple impact of noise. First, actual time. Seconds later, one other burst from patrons watching on TV in chalets. Then, distant cheers from each nook of Bellerive when the rating was posted.
“We knew what was happening,” he stated. “It is fairly apparent when Tiger makes a birdie. All people on the golf course cheers for him.”
Koepka knew precisely what to do.
Amid relentless pandemonium, Koepka ran off three straight birdies to finish the entrance 9 and seize management. When he was tied with Adam Scott by means of 14 holes, with Woods one shot behind, he delivered back-to-back birdies.
The final one was a laser of a 4-iron from 248 yards that settled 6 ft away, sending him to a dream end of a 12 months that started with the 28-year-old Floridian questioning if a wrist harm that saved him out 4 months would ever enable him to compete once more.
“That can in all probability go down as in all probability among the best pictures I’ve ever hit underneath stress,” he stated.
He closed with a 4-under 66 for a two-shot victory over Woods and took his place among the many elite in golf. Koepka turned the fifth participant to win the U.S. Open and PGA Championship in the identical 12 months, becoming a member of Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen.
It is going to be inconceivable to overlook him now, not with the Wanamaker Trophy to go along with his back-to-back U.S. Open titles. Koepka received two of the three majors he performed this 12 months, and three of his final six. Not since Woods received 4 in a row by means of the 2001 Masters has anybody received majors at such an alarming fee.
And but it nonetheless felt — and definitely sounded — as if he performed second billing to Woods.
Tiger electrifies crowd
The gang was huge, louder than something in golf this facet of Augusta Nationwide or a Ryder Cup, and Woods seemed nearer than ever to capping his comeback from 4 again surgical procedures with one other main.
Even with two bogeys, Woods shot 64 for his lowest closing spherical in a significant. He completed at 266, beating by three pictures his finest 72-hole rating in a significant.
At this main, it wasn’t sufficient.
“I performed exhausting,” Woods stated. “I made a little bit of a run. It appears like I am going to come up a bit of brief.”
Koepka was accountable for that.
After losing one likelihood to put it away by lacking consecutive birdie probabilities from 7 ft, Koepka saved attacking flags and ran in birdie putts of 10 ft on No. 15 and seven ft on No. 16 to finish the drama. He tapped in for par on the ultimate gap to set the PGA Championship scoring report at 264. It additionally tied the foremost championship report that Henrik Stenson set at Royal Troon two years in the past within the British Open.
He additionally joined Jordan Spieth, Woods, Nicklaus and Tom Watson as the one gamers with three majors earlier than turning 30 since World Battle II.
“Three majors at 28 — it is a cool feeling,” stated Koepka, who 5 years in the past was toiling in Europe’s minor leagues.
Scott hung round by making large putts, similar to he hoped, and was tied for the lead till Koepka’s birdies. Scott missed a 6-foot birdie putt on the par-5 17th that may have pulled him to inside one shot — proper after Koepka missed from the identical vary — after which made bogey on the 18th for a 67 to end alone in third.
The one knock on Koepka is that he does not win sufficient elsewhere — the Phoenix Open on the PGA Tour, the Turkish Airways Open on the European Tour, and two victories on the Dunlop Phoenix on the Japan Golf Tour.
“He is received three majors now, so he is undoubtedly profitable the fitting ones,” Scott stated. “If I used to be him, I would not change a lot in the intervening time. I would just preserve doing what he is doing as a result of he is displaying up on the proper moments within the greatest occasions. There’s one thing inside his mind that makes him imagine that that is what he is destined to do.”
The St. Louis followers waited 17 years to see Woods — he final was at Bellerive when the Sept. 11 terrorist assaults cancelled a World Golf Championship — and he delivered a efficiency that took golf again in time.
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