PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) — Brooks Koepka has returned to the top at the PGA Championship.
Six weeks after letting a two-shot lead get away on the final day of the Masters, Koepka fended off challenges from Viktor Hovland and Scottie Scheffler to win his third PGA title at sun-splashed Oak Hill.
Koepka fired a 3-under 67 in the final round to finish at 9 under for the tournament, two clear of Hovland and a late-charging Scheffler.
The victory gave Koepka five major titles, joining the U.S. Opens he won in 2017 and 2018 and the PGAs he captured in 2018 and 2019.
The 33-year-old Koepka is the 20th player to win at least five majors. He is one of six players to claim three or more PGAs, joining Jack Nicklaus (5), Walter Hagen (5) Tiger Woods (4), Gene Sarazen (3) and Sam Snead (3).
Koepka sealed the victory by hitting his approach shot on the par-4 16th to within 5 feet. He sank the ensuing birdie putt while Hovland double-bogeyed after his shot out of a fairway bunker on the same hole became plugged on the lip.
The 25-year-old Hovland was attempting to become the first Norwegian player to win a major title. Instead, he settled for his third straight top-10 finish in golf’s signature events.
Scheffler made a late charge with a final round 5-under 65 but couldn’t completely close the gap. He’ll have to settle for returning to the No. 1 ranked player in the world.
PGA club professional Michael Block’s storybook tournament finished with a flourish. The 46-year-old aced the par-3 15th on his way to a 1-over 71. That left Block at 1-over for the tournament and a tie for 15th, earning him a spot in next year’s PGA Championship at Valhalla.
As if Southern California club pro Michael Block hasn’t done enough to electrify the crowds at the PGA Championship this week. He now has a hole-in-one to add to his electrifying run at Oak Hill.
The 46-year-old did it on the par-3, 151-yard 15th when his high-arcing shot went directly into the hole. The force of the ball going in actually bent away the grass at the front lip of the hole.
Block celebrated by doffing his black cap and high-fiving with playing partner, Rory McIlroy. Smiling as he walked toward the green, Block stopped before the hole, looked down and initially fumbled getting the ball out before plucking it out on his second try and holding it up for the cheering crowd.
The ace brought Block back to even-par for the round and tournament. He had opened the final round bogeying Nos. 1 and 7.
Just as important, Block moved into a tie for 14th place. The top 15 players, plus ties, earn an automatic invite into next year’s PGA Championship.
Block is competing in his seventh major, and first in which he’s made the 36-hole cut after shooting even-par 70s on each of the first three days.
Brooks Koepka is nine holes away from his third PGA Championship.
Koepka reached the turn at Oak Hill with a one-shot lead over Viktor Hovland following a somewhat uneven front nine. Koepka reeled off three straight birdies to open a three-shot advantage before consecutive bogeys at Nos. 6 and 7 allowed Hovland to get back within striking distance.
The 25-year-old Hovland is trying to become the first men’s major champion from Norway.
World No. 2 Scottie Scheffler and 2020 U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau are three shots back as they head into the later stages of what been a taut week on the East Course.
Koepka is seeking his fifth major and first since capturing the 2019 PGA at Bethpage Black. He blew a two-shot lead in the final round at Augusta National in April, a collapse he likened to “choking.”
Several of the top players in the field have put together a Sunday charge at an Oak Hill course softened by steady rain during the third round.
Sepp Straka and Cameron Smith both posted 5-under 65s to get under par for the tournament. Eighteen players have already carded rounds of 1-under 69 or better with most of the frontrunners still out on the course. Only seven players broke par during the soggy third round.
Brooks Koepka is off to a hot start in the final round of the PGA Championship, giving him a little wiggle room as he chases a fifth major title.
Koepka began his final tour of the East Course with a par on the first hole before reeling off three straight birdies to get to 9-under par. That’s three shots clear of playing partner Viktor Hovland.
Koepka began the day hoping to avoid a repeat of his performance in the final round at the Masters last month when he let a two-shot lead slip away.
While several players are making a move below Koepka on the leaderboard, his closest pursuers have fallen a bit off the pace. Hovland is the only player within four shots of Koepka as the two reach the midpoint of the front nine.
Reigning British Open champion Cam Smith is putting together the best round of the week at par-70 Oak Hill. He has seven birdies against just one bogey to get to 6 under for the day and 2 under for the tournament.
Brooks Koepka’s pursuit of a third PGA Championship is underway. He may have to go low to close it out at suddenly forgiving Oak Hill.
Koepka entered the final round with a one-shot lead over Viktor Hovland and Corey Conners on the East Course. The 33-year-old Koepka is seeking his fifth major title and his first since winning the PGA in 2019.
Seven players began the day within five shots of the lead, including major champions Scottie Scheffler, Bryson DeChambeau and Rory McIlroy.
The leaderboard became a bit more crowded as several players who began the day well off the pace took advantage of a course softened by Saturday’s steady rain.
Victor Perez birdied four straight holes on the front nine to get to 3 under. He was joined there by Justin Rose, who birdied the first to get within three shots of Koepka.
Cam Smith set the early pace. The reigning British Open champion opened with a 4-under 32 on the front nine. He’s joined at 1 over by Xander Schauffele, who has three birdies against zero bogeys through 14 holes.
Conditions are proving ideal at Oak Hill, with the early groups enjoying a relative birdie fest during the final round of the PGA Championship.
Led by Cameron Smith and Adam Scott, who are both 4 under on the day, there are 19 competitors shooting under par on an East Course that allowed just nine scores at 69 or better on Saturday. Third-round leader Brooks Koepka (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68) were the only two to shoot 2 under or better in the third round.
Smith, the 2022 British Open champion, moved into a tie for eighth with birdies on four of his first six holes to move to even par for the tournament. Scott has climbed into a tie for 19th by improving to 2 over for the tournament with four birdies through 14 holes.
The difference is the weather. Oak Hill is drying up after the third round was played amid a persistent rain and a few downpours, which required course workers to squeegee several fairways and greens where water had pooled.
The sun has been out all day, with the temperature projected to climb to 74 by the time the final group of Koepka and Viktor Hovland are scheduled to tee off at 2:30 p.m. EDT.
The weather has broken at Oak Hill ahead of the final round of the PGA Championship.
Brooks Koepka fired a 4-under 66 in the third round at the soggy East Course to reach 6 under for the tournament. Koepka has a one-shot lead over Viktor Hovland and Corey Conners as he pursues his fifth major championship and third PGA title.
The 33-year-old Koepka also is seeking a bit of redemption after letting the 54-hole lead get away at the Masters in April.
Only seven players will begin the final round under par following a rain-soaked third round that ranked among the most difficult at the PGA in the last 20 years.
Major championship winners Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy and Scottie Scheffler are among those within five shots of the lead.
Club professional Michael Block is six shots back. The 46-year-old has put together three consecutive rounds of even-par 70. Block is currently tied for eighth, the first club pro to rank inside the top 10 through 54 holes in 33 years.
Conditions figure to ease up a bit at Oak Hill. Sun is expected throughout the day with temperatures topping out in the low-70s.
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