Koepka holds off Tiger for the PGA ti­tle

Ottawa Citizen - - FRONT PAGE - DOUG FER­GU­SON

Brooks Koepka is im­pos­si­ble to over­look, win­ning the PGA Cham­pi­onship on Sun­day with ma­chine-like pre­ci­sion to go with his back-to-back U.S. Open ti­tles.

And it still felt — and sounded — like he was play­ing sec­ond billing to Tiger Woods.

With roars for Woods, Koepka kept his cool and ran off two birdies on the back nine at Bel­lerive with Adam Scott tied for the lead and Woods one shot be­hind.

Koepka closed with a 4-un­der 66 for a two-shot vic­tory, mak­ing him only the fifth player to win the U.S. Open and PGA Cham­pi­onship in the same year.

“The crowds here, they let you know what’s go­ing on,” Koepka said with a big grin. “The be­gin­ning of the back nine, I could hear all the roars. When Tiger started mak­ing his lit­tle run, and Scotty made his run, it got loud.”

Even with two bo­geys, Woods shot 64 for his low­est fi­nal round in a ma­jor.

Af­ter wast­ing one chance to put it away, Koepka ran kept at­tack­ing flags and ran in birdie putts of 10 feet on No. 15 and seven feet on No. 16 to end the drama. He tapped in for par on the fi­nal hole to set the PGA Cham­pi­onship scor­ing record at 264. It also tied the ma­jor cham­pi­onship record that Hen­rik Sten­son set at Royal Troon two years ago in the Bri­tish Open.

Koepka has won three of the last six ma­jors he played, and two of three this year alone. He joined Woods, Jack Nick­laus, Ben Ho­gan and Gene Sarazen as the only play­ers to win the two U.S. ma­jors that ro­tate to dif­fer­ent cour­ses in the same year.

The 28-year-old also joined Jor­dan Spi­eth, Woods, Nick­laus and Tom Wat­son as the only play­ers with three ma­jors be­fore turn­ing 30 since the Sec­ond World War.

Scott hung around by mak­ing big putts and was tied for the lead un­til Koepka’s birdies. Scott missed a 6-foot birdie putt on the par-5 17th that would have pulled him to within one shot — right af­ter Koepka missed from the same range — and then made bo­gey on the 18th for a 67 to fin­ish alone in third.

Brooks Koepka


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