Koepka keeps cool to claim US PGA crown

US Open champion Brooks Koepka fired a four-under par final round of 66 on Sunday to claim a third major title in two years at the 100th PGA Championship at Bellerive.

Koepka finished on 16-under par, holding off a valiant charge by Tiger Woods (64) as the veteran made a brave bid to win his 15th major championship, shooting his lowest ever score in the final round of a major to finish two shots back.

The win saw Koepka become only the fifth player in history to win the US Open and PGA in the same year following Gene Sarazen (1922), Ben Hogan (1948), Jack Nicklaus (1982) and Tiger Woods (2000).

With the crowds all cheering for a surging Woods, overnight leader Koepka kept calm even after consecutive bogeys on four and five had given hope to the chasing pack that included Australia’s Adam Scott.

The US Open champ was not fazed, however, and promptly holed three straight birdies to finish the front nine and re-establish his lead.

Scott, who had said he would try to win for his friend, golfer Jarrod Lyle who passed away on Tuesday, had pulled level by the 14th after five birdies in seven holes around the turn, but it was not to be.

Koepka’s win was more or less sealed by the 16th hole after the 28-year added two more birdies on the 15th and 16th holes to stretch the lead back to two, the latter coming after a superb 240-yard iron off the tee.

The challenge of Woods by this time had also waned, missed putts at 11 and 14, plus one wild drive too far at 17 costing him dearly as he ended the day in solo second at 14 under par, Scott a shot further back after a bogey at the last.

Defending champion Justin Thomas had also looked a threat earlier in the day, briefly tying for the lead before falling back to finish in a tie for sixth spot at 10-under alongside early leader Gary Woodland, Open Champion Francesco Molinari and Belgium’s Thomas Pieters.

Speaking after the win, Koepka talked about his recovery from a serious wrist injury earlier this year.

“To go from not even being sure if I could play again, to playing this way, is absolutely mind-boggling.”

“My focus is so important. You’ve got to be patient, and that’s so important in the majors. When Tiger started making his run, it got loud. But it was fun, and enjoyable to play in front of fans who love golf. You guys are awesome!”

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