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Dublin: 9 °C Friday 29 May, 2020

Koepka takes seven-shot lead into final day of PGA Championship

Level-par 70 leaves Koepka primed for fourth Major.

Koepka: bidding for wire-to-wire victory.
Koepka: bidding for wire-to-wire victory.
Image: Andres Kudacki

DEFENDING CHAMPION BROOKS Koepka overcame struggles to maintain a seven-stroke lead after Saturday’s third round of the PGA Championship, the largest 54-hole advantage in tournament history.

The world number three is now in prime position for his fourth Major title following a level-par 70 at Bethpage Black which left him on 12-under par.

“I left a bunch of putts short,” Koepka said. “I’m pleased I’m stroking it well. Just need to hit them a little harder.”

American trio Dustin Johnson, Harold Varner and Luke List, and Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond are Koepka’s closest rivals on five-under heading into the final day.

“It’s going to take something special to catch Brooks,” Johnson said. “But it’s definitely do-able on this course.”

The best final-round comeback by a PGA winner was seven strokes by John Mahaffey in 1978.

“We’re all pretty much playing for second,” List said.

No one in Major golf history posted a lower 36-hole score than Koepka’s 12-under 128, and his seven-stroke advantage was the second-largest halfway lead, trailing only Henry Cotton’s nine-shot edge in the 1934 British Open.

If Koepka does capture the Wanamaker Trophy and the €1.77 million top prize, he will be the first man to own back-to-back titles at two Majors simultaneously, with a chance to add a third consecutive US Open crown next month at Pebble Beach.

“He’s definitely, in these events, playing on a different level than most anyone else,” four-time major winner Rory McIlroy said. “It’s awesome. It’s so good. It’s great to watch.”

- © AFP, 2019

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