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Brooks Koepka won the PGA Championship for the third time, clinching his fifth major title on Sunday at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York.The 33-year-old’s triumph sees him become the first golfer to win a major while playing on the LIV Golf Series. He took a winning amount of $3.15 million signifying the largest year-over-year increase in tournament history.
“I still feel like I can win majors, I still feel like I can be one of if not the best player in the world,” Koepka said. “You know, just gotta get my golf swing doing what I want it to do and just gotta get healthy again.”
“This is probably the sweetest one of them all because all the hard work that went into this one, this one is definitely special,” Koepka said. “This one is probably it for me.”
A solo runner-up would have claimed $1.89 million, though a birdie at the 18th for Viktor Hovland tied him with Scottie Scheffler with the golfers instead receiving $1.54 million each.
A commanding final round showing saw the American finish on nine-under par, two shots ahead of compatriot Scottie Scheffler and Norway’s Viktor Hovland, who played his part in a pulsating final day duel.
It marks a long-awaited return to the summit for Koepka, who had endured an injury-ridden fall from the top after winning back-to-back pairs of PGA Championship and US Open cups in an unprecedented stretch between 2017 and 2019.
Koepka, despite a slow start, had coped just fine in the miserable conditions. The American had roared back from a disappointing two-over 72 with back-to-back, round-best four-under 66’s to tee off for the final round with a one stroke lead over Canada’s Corey Conners and Hovland.
There was nothing slow about his Sunday start, as Koepka tapped home his third successive birdie at the fourth hole to rocket into a four stroke lead. It was a role reversal of last month’s Masters, when Jon Rahm tore away from the chasing Koepka with a flurry of early birdies.
In doing so, Koepka became the 20th player to win at least five majors and joined Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the only players to win the Wanamaker Trophy three times in the stroke-play era.
The tussle between the leading duo continued, Hovland matching Koepka stride for stride to remain within a stroke with just three holes to play.
World no. 2 Scheffler began the final round tied for fifth but climbed the leaderboard with a brilliant five-under 65, two better than Koepka and three better than Hovland.
“Right now I’m a little sad that I wasn’t able to get the tournament done, but I’m proud of how I fought, I’m proud of how I played the back nine today to give myself a chance,” Scheffler said.
Michael Block, the 46-year-old club pro from Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, capped off his Cinderella story by making a hole-in-one at the 15th hole and shooting 1-over 71. He finished as the low club pro and his T-15 earned an exemption to the 2024 PGA Championship. Among the players he beat were reigning Masters champion Jon Rahm, who entered the tournament as world No. 1 but finished T-50.
“It’s golf,” Rahm said, “when you think, oh, I got this, it kicks you in the mouth, and you have to start over again. It happens to everybody.”
Live scores - https://bit.ly/456WgT4
Read about Day 1 - https://4moles.com/golfing-news/the-pga-championship-2023-day-1
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