Koepka confirms his class

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Brooks Koepka
  • Post published:May 20, 2019

Brooks Koepka successfully defended his US PGA Championship title to make Major history after a dramatic final day at Bethpage State Park BK Course.

The American entered round four with a record seven-shot lead and was still leading by six with eight to play, but his advantage was down to one as he stood on the 15th tee after a run of four bogeys.

Dustin Johnson was the man chasing him down, but the World No 1 – who Koepka will now replace at the top of the Rankings – bogeyed two of his last three holes, and the leader looked comfortable again with a three-shot cushion.

But on one of the most dramatic Major Sundays in recent memory, Koepka bogeyed the 17th and found trouble off the tee at the last before saving par and signing for a 74 that gave him a two-shot victory at eight-under.

England’s Matt Wallace finished at two-under alongside Americans Patrick Cantlay and Jordan Spieth to achieve his best Major finish, but the day belonged to Koepka, who took his place among the golfing greats.

A fourth Major title out of his last eight puts him alongside Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the only players to win so many over such a short span, and he becomes the first wire-to-wire winner of a Major since Spieth at The 2017 Open Championship.

The 29-year-old’s fourth Major title also makes him the first player to win both the US PGA Championship and US Open back to back, and the first to be a two-time reigning champion at simultaneous Majors.

Koepka’s tally in golf’s big four now matches his achievements on the European Challenge Tour in 2012 and 2013 as he made his start in the professional game, an experience he has often credited as a big step in his development.

He is also now the only player under 30 with four Major titles, and after conquering one of the toughest tests in the world of golf, there could be many more to follow.

Koepka played a heavy second shot on the first to surrender a bogey, and with playing partner Harold Varner III making a birdie, the lead was down to five.

But as Varmer fell back, it was Johnson who established himself as the closest threat, playing an excellent pitch at the par-five fourth for a first birdie of the day.

Koepka also made the most of the par-five after finding the green in two, but when Johnson hit an approach to eight feet at the sixth and put an approach to tap-in range on the ninth, he was just four shots back.

Johnson failed to get up and down from sand on the 11th, and Koepka put his approach to tap-in range on the tenth for a two-shot swing and six-shot lead but there was more drama to come.

The leader could only advance his second to the fairway after finding sand off the 11th tee, and he then had the same problem from a nasty lie on the next, going bogey-bogey and seeing his advantage cut back to four.

He went a long way left off the 13th tee for another bogey before Johnson holed a ten-footer on the 15th, and a tee shot over the back of the 14th made it four bogeys in a row.

Johnson missed the green at the 16th and 17th for back-to-back bogeys, but Koepka three-putted the penultimate hole to take the drama up to the last.