Brooks Koepka held off a packed leaderboard with a commanding performance to collect his second Major triumph of the year at the PGA Championship on Sunday, writes WADE PRETORIUS.
Koepka’s victory at Bellerive makes him the first person since Tiger Woods to win the US Open and the PGA Championship in the same season.
It was the 14-time Major champion who gathered the most attention as he gripped the imagination once more with a spirited scrambling display in St Louis. Woods, who started the championship bogey, double, did not hit a single fairway on the front nine but nevertheless made the turn two under par to keep pressure on Koepka.
The double defending US Open champion birdied the first but wobbled midway through his front side with two drops in a row. That was enough to let the field into the equation with Woods and Justin Thomas, who broke through in this event in 2017, coming into the frame.
Thomas birdied 10 and 11 to join Koepka but failed to keep his intensity as he played his final seven holes in two over par to fade out.
The crowds then descended on Woods, who birdied 8, 9, 12 and 13, to present himself as the biggest threat should Koepka show any signs of weakness.
He would not as Woods bogeyed 14 and then suffered yet another poor drive which forced him to lay way back on the par 5 17th. A par there from the 42-year-old former world number one combined with some precision iron play from Koepka all but decided the contest. The 28-year-old dialed in two exquisite approaches to birdie 15 and 16 and extend his lead to two strokes, with playing partner Adam Scott now closest to him.
The Australian quietly going about his business but lacking the firepower to match Koepka.
In truth, no one could match the champion in waiting. His final round too good for Scott – playing his final round four under par – and Woods, for all his tee shot struggles, who went around Bellerive six under after a capping his championship Sunday with a birdie on the 72nd hole.
Koepka’s failure to birdie 17 despite a monstrous drive caused a little extra late drama but the script was already written as he joined a select band of American winners of three or more Majors before the age of 30.
His name added to Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Gene Sarazen and Jordan Spieth. And his story is far from over.