Koepka leads as Woods challenges at US PGA Championship

Brooks Koepka

US PGA Championship third-round leaderboard
-12 B Koepka (US); -10 A Scott (Aus); -9 J Rahm (Spa), R Fowler (US), G Woodland (US); -8 T Woods (US), S Cink (US), J Day (Aus), J Thomas (US), S Lowry (Ire), C Schwartzel (SA)
Selected others: -7 F Molinari (Ita); -6 T Pieters (Bel); -5 E Pepperell (Eng), I Poulter (Eng), J Rose (Eng), M Wallace (Eng); -4 J Spieth (US); -3 T Hatton (Eng); -2 T Fleetwood (Eng), R Knox (Sco) R McIlroy (NI)
Full leaderboard

American Brooks Koepka leads the US PGA Championship going into the final day at Bellerive, despite two late bogeys reducing his advantage to two shots.

The US Open champion, who had led by five shots, carded a four-under 66 to stay ahead of Australia’s Adam Scott.

American pair Rickie Fowler and Gary Woodland, along with Spain’s Jon Rahm, are nine under as they all chase a maiden major victory.

Tiger Woods, who won his 14th major in 2008, shot 66 to end on eight under.

Seven of the top 12 players have already won one of the four majors – the Masters, The Open Championship, the US Open and US PGA Championship – while the presence of top-10 players Fowler and Rahm adds to a high-quality leaderboard.

Ireland’s Shane Lowry is also eight under after a 69, with a quartet of Englishman – Eddie Pepperell, Ian Poulter, Matt Wallace and Justin Rose – leading the British chase on five under.

Wallace moved up the leaderboard thanks to a hole-in-one on the par-three 16th, describing it as the “best shot of my life”.

Three-time major winner Jordan Spieth’s chances of completing the career Grand Slam of all four majors with victory in St Louis looks to be slim after a 71 left him eight shots behind Koepka.

Spieth, 24, moved into contention with a front nine of four-under 31 but a triple-bogey seven on the par-four 12th damaged his hopes.

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, England’s Tommy Fleetwood and Scotland’s Russell Knox are two shots behind Spieth at two under.

Koepka leads after ‘hot start’

Koepka, 28, is aiming for his third major in little over a year after retaining his US Open title in June and then dominating the field at Bellerive on Saturday.

A rapid start saw him convert two birdie putts on the opening two holes to take playing partner Woodland’s overnight lead, then rack up three more before the turn for a 30 on the front nine.

That put the US Ryder Cup player into a five-shot advantage, which he maintained with four pars at the start of the back nine.

Woodland, meanwhile, saw his bid for a first major derailed with a treble bogey on the par-four 10th, after twice clipping out of greenside bunkers into another sand trap at the other side of the putting surface.

Gary Woodland at the US PGA

World number four Koepka threatened to build up a considerable lead going into Sunday’s final round, only to give his rivals hope with a bogey on the 14th – his first dropped shot since he took five on the par-three sixth in the first round – and then following it immediately with another on the 15th.

A wayward drive finished behind a tree and forced Koepka to take a penalty drop, although he managed to rescue a bogey to stay one ahead of 2013 Masters champion Scott.

The Australian, who is aiming to win his second major just days after the death of fellow tour professional and compatriot Jarrod Lyle, birdied the 16th and 17th on his way to a five-under 65.

Koepka responded by giving himself a 12-foot eagle putt on the 17th, which he missed before knocking in the birdie attempt to finish two shots clear.

“I played pretty well and got off to a hot start,” said Koepka. “On the back nine I just made a couple of bad swings. It was nice to right the ship on the 17th.

“I just have to stay in the moment, don’t think about anything else, just come out and play.”

I played better than score indicates – Woods

Woods, searching for a first major win since the 2008 US Open, moved into contention after a blistering front nine which contained five birdies and one bogey.

Like his final-round surge at The Open last month, excitement mounted as the 42-year-old briefly moved within two shots of the lead.

However, he could not sustain his momentum on the back nine.

Woods continued to give himself opportunities with some solid play between tee to green, but was unable to convert any of the birdie chances in a run of 10 straight pars.

Most notably, the world number 50 missed a 20-foot putt for eagle on the par-five 17th and then saw his four-foot birdie attempt slide by.

Tiger Woods

The four-time US PGA champion is 10 under on the front nine for the tournament, but two over on the back nine this week.

“For 29 holes I made three bogeys and played pretty clean – two of those were three putts. I played better than my score indicates,” said Woods, who had to finish off his second round on Saturday morning after storms curtailed Friday’s play.

“I wish my score was closer to the lead but not many guys are up there. This golf course is very gettable.

“We have to be aggressive, pars just won’t be enough.”

Wallace ‘could retire’ after hole in one

Matt Wallace celebrates his hole in one

England’s Wallace produced one of the most memorable moments of the tournament by claiming a “mindblowing” hole in one on the par-three 16th.

The 28-year-old, who is ranked 75th in the world, watched his tee shot pitch on the front fringe of the green before rolling in to huge roars from the galleries which could be heard around the course.

Wallace was given a rapturous reception as walked up to the hole, kissing his ball after collecting it and then throwing it into the crowd.

It moved him to five under on his first weekend appearance at a major after making the cut.

“To hole in one on a Saturday at a major was really special. I enjoyed every minute,” he said.

“I will remember this forever. I said to my caddie a couple of holes before it was the most fun I’d ever had and then that happened. It was mental.

“After this week I could just retire, it’s been so amazing.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

BBC Sport – Golf

Leave a Reply