Koepka’s PGA Championship Lead Holds at Seven

Average Day for Koepka, Still Leading

Farmingdale, NY- Brooks Koepka dominated Bethpage Black for the first two days of the PGA Championship. He led the tournament by seven with Adam Scott and playing partner Jordan Spieth tied for second place. On Saturday afternoon, Koepka took to the links and started well but tapered off as the round went on.

The former Florida State Seminole’s approach shot on the second hole left him five feet from the hole for a tap-in birdie. He did a similar job on the fifth hole, where his approach shot landed three feet from the hole for another tap-in.

The crowd expected Koepka to keep up his pace for the remainder of the round. Bethpage Black had other ideas. Koepka bogeyed holes nine and ten. Hole nine was particularly galling, as he missed a 2’2″ putt for par. Koepka salvaged an even day with a birdie on the par-five thirteenth hole, and had an opportunity to improve his lead, but missed a birdie putt short on the eighteenth green. Ultimately, Koepka’s lead stayed at seven. His score was still -12 and the second-best score was -5.

“I felt like I struck it better than I did yesterday,” observed Brooks. “I just didn’t putt as well. I left a couple putts short right in the middle. If I make those and shoot a couple under, I extend the lead. But I felt like they were coming off the putter very nicely. You’re also trying not to leave yourself with too many 3- and 4-footers. If you have tap-ins, the way it’s playing today, it’s difficult to make a lot of birdies. If you can par your way around this golf course — today, I thought it was pretty good.”

Jordan Spieth notched a +2 and dropped out of second place to -3.

Second place is shared four-way tie at -5. Luke List and Dustin Johnson both went -1. List strung together three straight birdies on the back nine and sat at -7 until bogeys on seventeen and eighteen. Harold Varner III and Asian Tour staple Jazz Janewattananond both recorded -3 days.

The final day does not offer much drama. Brooks Koepka appears likely to win his fourth major in eight attempts and second consecutive PGA Championship.

When asked if he feels nervous, Koepka calmly responded: “No. I feel confident. I feel good. I feel excited. I’m excited. I was excited just to get to the course today, and then try to build that lead, but didn’t happen. It’s a tough day. It would have been really hard to shoot 4- or 5-under. I don’t know if anybody did that today or not, but it was a difficult day, and any time the wind’s going to be blowing 15 at Bethpage Black, you’re in for a real test. I feel confident going into tomorrow. I don’t know what the forecast is. But if I can hit a few fairways, there’s really a couple key holes out here, you know, you play 7 well, play 10 and 12 well, and then from there, you just hit the center of the greens and try to par this place to death.”

Koepka tees off at 2:35 on Sunday afternoon. Gastonia, NC, native Harold Varner III will be his playing partner. Luke List and Jazz Janewattananond tee off at 2:25 and Dustin Johnson and Hideki Matsuyama tee up at 2:15.