Tuesday, 26 Sep, 2023


Koepka wins US PGA Championship to claim 5th major 

Sports Desk | banglanews24.com
Update: 2023-05-22 11:48:04
Koepka wins US PGA Championship to claim 5th major  [Photo collected]

A resurgent Brooks Koepka held off Scottie Scheffler and Viktor Hovland to claim his third US PGA Championship title at Oak Hill in New York state.

Koepka, 33, carded a three-under 67 to win his fifth major on nine under, two shots clear of Scheffler and Hovland.

Scheffler, who returns to world number one, hit a 65 to get to seven under, while Hovland - who had a double bogey on the 16th - shot a two-under 68.

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy carded a 69 to end joint seventh on two under.

There was also a magical moment when south California club professional Michael Block once again illuminated the East Course with a hole-in-one at the 151-yard par-three 15th.

The 46-year-old was one of 20 club professionals at the championship, but the only one to make the cut and he has delighted fans all week with his carefree attitude.

And they erupted once again to celebrate the ace, although Block was only aware of his feat after he asked his playing partner McIlroy, "Rory, did it go in?" before the two shared a warm embrace.

Block's ace is the first at this championship since 2020 and helped him finish joint 15th, which earns him an exemption for next year's tournament at Valhalla.

Koepka claims third US PGA title and fifth major - as it happened

However, even he could not distract from a moment of redemption for his fellow American Koepka, who held a four-shot lead at April's Masters before eventually finishing as runner-up to Jon Rahm.

It is the third time in five years that Koepka has played a major championship in the state of New York and come out on top.

"This is incredible," Koepka said. "I look back at where we were two years ago. I am just so happy right now, this is just the coolest thing.

"I don't know how many guys have won five times, but to be with those groups of names is absolutely incredible and I'll be honest I'm not even sure I dreamed of it as a kid."

He joins greats of the game Seve Ballesteros, Peter Thomson, Byron Nelson, John Henry Taylor and James Braid as a quintuple major winner.

It is all the more remarkable given it comes just two years after Koepka underwent extensive knee surgery and following his switch to the Saudi Arabian-backed LIV Golf set-up.

Koepka collects the Wanamaker Trophy and a hefty cheque of $3.15m [£2.53m]. He also becomes only the sixth player to win the Championship on three or more occasions - joining Walter Hagen and Jack Nicklaus (five), Tiger Woods (four), Gene Sarazen and Sam Snead (three).

Koepka back at his brilliant best
Koepka was roundly booed by fans on the first tee on Saturday because of his involvement with LIV Golf.

However, his sustained brilliance over the third round and again on Sunday ensured he received the adulation of the galleries as he tapped in his winning putt.

On the the face of it his success may well provide a significant boost for those marketing the Saudi-funded circuit but for an emotional Koepka, a player whose career was potentially in jeopardy not so long ago, it appeared to strike a more personal chord.

Koepka has spent recent weeks reflecting on "choking" at the Masters, pledging to not simply try to hang on to a lead ever again after faltering badly in defensive mode at Augusta National.

True to his word as he went on a birdie blitz across the second, third and fourth holes to open a four-shot lead before his Norwegian playing partner, Hovland, responded.

It was an imperious opening. The last 54-hole leader at a major to go three under or better in the first four holes of a final round was Ian Baker-Finch on his way to victory at the 1991 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.

But Koepka saw his lead cut to a single shot after finding the water off the tee on the challenging sixth hole, while both he and Hovland dropped shots at the seventh.

Both players then became immersed in a superb duel that ultimately fizzled out on the 16th hole when Hovland drilled his second shot into the face of a fairway bunker - exactly as Corey Conners had done in round three. The Norwegian was given a free drop - but in a horrendous lie in the rough - and could only make double bogey from there.

At that stage, Scheffler, who made a late charge with four birdies on the back nine, looked set to finish outright second, but Hovland rolled in a birdie putt on the last to join the American on seven under.

It left Koepka, who had bogeyed the 17th, two putts from 15 feet to conclude an impressive victory.

Inconsistencies cost McIlroy & Rose
With two of the world's best three players among a stellar cast in the final few pairings, fireworks had been anticipated in Rochester.However, the challenge from those perched just below Koepka - who led by one shot overnight - largely came from Hovland, who is yet to win one of men's golf's coveted four majors but has now finished inside the top 10 in his previous three.

Four-time major champion McIlroy, signalled his early intent with a stunning wedge shot to set up a tap-in birdie on the first but he bogeyed two of the next three holes in a round full of inconsistencies before signing for a third consecutive 69.

England's Justin Rose was fleetingly within three of the lead when he birdied the first and chipped in to save par on the second.

But after making birdie on the sixth, the 2013 US Open champion saw his challenge fade with three bogeys in his next five holes and he eventually recorded a closing 71 to finish one under.

Rahm, who has been deposed at the top of the world rankings, also concluded with a 71, leaving him well down the field on seven over par.

"It's golf," said Rahm. "When you think 'Oh, I got this' it kicks you in the mouth and you have to start over again. It happens to everybody."

Source: BBC

BDST: 1145 HRS, MAY 22, 2023

All rights reserved. Sale, redistribution or reproduction of information/photos/illustrations/video/audio contents on this website in any form without prior permission from banglanews24.com are strictly prohibited and liable to legal action.