Six weeks after feeling he “choked” within the closing spherical of the Masters, Brooks Koepka held his nerve to beat a spirited problem from Viktor Hovland to win the US PGA Championship at Oak Hill.
Koepka carded a closing 67 to complete 9 beneath par and declare his third US PGA title, his fifth main general and the primary for a participant on the Saudi-funded LIV Golf League.
Hovland traded blows with Koepka till a expensive double bogey on the sixteenth, however a birdie on the 18th deservedly gave the Norwegian a share of second place with Scottie Scheffler on seven beneath.
Koepka took a one-shot lead over Hovland and Corey Conners into the ultimate spherical, having loved double that benefit following 54 holes of the Masters in April.
The 33-year-old carded a closing 75 at Augusta National to complete second to Jon Rahm and felt he had choked beneath stress, however exorcised these demons on the first alternative.
The former world primary made a flying begin with a hat-trick of birdies from the second and was momentarily 4 photographs clear earlier than Hovland matched his birdie on the fourth.
Hovland additionally birdied the fifth to shut the hole and was inside a single stroke when Koepka pushed his drive on the sixth into Allen’s Creek and was unable to save lots of par.
Koepka doubled his lead with a birdie on the tenth, solely to then see his method to the subsequent plug in a greenside bunker.
After blasting out to 12 ft, Koepka noticed his par try lip out and though he bounced again instantly to birdie the twelfth, he couldn’t shake off a resolute Hovland.
The 25-year-old, who was in competition for the third consecutive main, took benefit of the par-five thirteenth to maintain the stress firmly on and each males birdied the quick 14th to successfully flip it right into a two-horse race.
However, in a carbon copy of what occurred to Conners in spherical three, Hovland drilled his second shot into the face of a fairway bunker on the sixteenth to run up a double bogey.
Koepka’s birdie gave him a four-shot lead and he might afford to bogey the seventeenth and par the final to finish a formidable victory.
Scheffler had obtained inside two of the lead due to birdies on the tenth, thirteenth and 14th, however needed to wait till the 18th to select up one other shot and full an outstanding 65.
World primary Rahm, commentating for CBS following a closing 71 which left him seven over par, had been stuffed with reward for Koepka after his blistering begin.
“He is a player that, when he gets in contention, is like a shark in the water,” Rahm stated.
“He smells blood, especially on these types of courses. It suits his mentality of being even keel, plodding along and taking opportunities when they come.
“He came out aggressive and I don’t think people realise how dangerous some of these hole locations are. To be that precise (on the second) to give yourself three feet straight up the hill is incredible.”
Open champion Cameron Smith recorded the joint lowest spherical of the week up to now with a closing 65 and insisted nobody ought to be shocked that he and fellow LIV gamers like Koepka had been capable of compete on the highest stage.
“I gave up on that narrative about six months ago,” Smith stated with a smile. “I think there’s been a few guys that have been trying to kick it along a little bit.
“We’re still out there. We haven’t forgot how to play golf. We’re all great golfers out there, and we know what we can do, and I think that’s what we’re trying to do.”
Rory McIlroy started the day 5 photographs behind Koepka and made the best begin with a birdie from tap-in distance on the primary, however bogeyed two of the subsequent three holes and finally signed for a 3rd straight 69.
McIlroy no less than had the perfect seat in the home for a unprecedented efficiency from enjoying companion Michael Block, the 46-year-old membership skilled making a hole-in-one on the fifteenth in a closing 71 that secured a spot within the subject at Valhalla subsequent yr.
Justin Rose was inside three of the lead when he birdied the primary and chipped in to save lots of par on the second, however needed to accept a closing 71 to complete one beneath.
Compatriot Tyrrell Hatton was left to rue a nightmare opening spherical of 77 after subsequent scores of 68, 69 and 67 proved what was doable and left him in a tie for fifteenth.