• Koepka rallied on the back of crowd hostility

    Brooks Koepka
    A well-earned prize

    Brooks Koepka was energised by the chants of ‘choke’ as he held off Dustin Johnson’s threat amid a back-nine collapse to win the PGA Championship, writes WADE PRETORIUS.

    The new World No 1 felt the noisy New York gallery turn on him after four back nine bogeys in a row.

    That stumble, as strong winds made play extremely difficult, was matched by a charge from Johnson.

    The crowd smelt blood and called for it.

    ‘It’s New York. What do you expect when you’re half-choking it away?’ Koepka said.

    ‘I kind of deserved it. You’re going to rattle off four in a row and it looks like you’re going to lose it. I’ve been to sporting events in New York. I know how it goes.’

    The chants of ‘DJ’ and ‘choke’ had the opposite effect on the leader as he steadied the ship in the face of the threat of golf’s biggest meltdowns.

    ‘I think it actually helped. It was at a perfect time because I was just thinking, “OK, all right. I’ve got everybody against me. Let’s go.” It helped me refocus and hit a good one down 15. That was probably the best thing that could have happened. It was very stressful, the last hour and a half of that round. You’ve got to right the ship eventually and try to stay mentally strong.’

    The win puts Koepka in elite company and firmly in the favourite’s box for next month’s US Open.

    Even so, he’s taking it one week at a time and setting aside a few minutes to enjoy his victory.

    ‘This is definitely the most satisfying of all the ones I’ve won. Today was definitely the most satisfying for how stressful that round was, how stressful DJ made that. This was, by far, the most stressful,’ he added.

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