Date: May 19, 2019
Author: Mark Hayes

The PGA: It’s Koepka, then daylight

Brooks Koepka was asked in his post-round press conference at the US PGA Championship today if he thought anyone could beat him to the crown tomorrow. He said, “No”.

And regardless of your thoughts in the battle of modesty and honesty, it’s hard to make the contrary case.

The American powerhouse played arguably the weakest round of his dominant week at Bethpage Black in New York, yet tomorrow will tee up chasing his third title in his past five major championship starts with a seemingly bullet-proof seven-stroke lead.

Koepka took 32 putts – four worse than the tour average – en route to an even-par 70, yet maintained the largest third-round lead in PGA Championship history as the other seven golfers in the final four pairings today combined to go 21 over in a failed chase attempt.

Dustin Johnson spearheads the unlikely combination of Harold Varner, Jazz Janewattananond and Luke List as Koepka’s closest rivals at five under, but the dual US Open champ, despite missing an inordinate number of makeable putts, will start at 12 under and in a league of his own.

Should he be successful tomorrow, Koepka will become the first golfer to have successfully defended two separate major championship trophies in succession.

Adam Scott fought hard again today for a 72 that left him at three under and clearly the best Australian of the four who advanced to the weekend action.

Scott is right in the thick of what looms as a battle for second place that also includes the likes of Jordan Spieth (-3), Hideki Matsuyama (-4), Xander Schauffele (-3) and the consistent Rickie Fowlier (-1).

But it’s far-fetched to think any of them will have the firepower to come anywhere near Koepka.

Of the other Aussies, Jason Day’s one-under-par 69 left him in a share of 26th at two over, while Cam Smith (74) and Lucas Herbert (73) finished at seven over and in a share of 64th.