ST. LOUIS — Brooks Koepka typically will get ignored on tv within the record of notable scores. In the health club, he will get missed for Dustin Johnson.
There is not any mistaking him in a significant.
Koepka bullied rain-softened Bellerive Country Club on Saturday within the PGA Championship, constructing a five-shot lead till he needed to scramble to keep away from a slide on the again 9. He settled for a Four-under 66 and a two-shot lead over Adam Scott going into the ultimate spherical of the ultimate main of the yr.
At stake is an opportunity to win three of the previous six majors he has performed, and to affix an elite record — Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen — as the one gamers to win the U.S. Open and PGA Championship in the identical yr.
“You can’t hide when you’re on the top of the leaderboard,” he mentioned. “You can’t hide my name. So just try to get to the top of the leaderboard and work from there.”
Even so, one misstep and it is perhaps straightforward to get misplaced at this main.
The course is so-so, and the climate is sizzling, so let’s get this over with, proper? Wrong. With all the massive names — Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler and extra — making an attempt to chase down Brooks Koepka, we’re in for one thing particular.
For the second consecutive main championship, Tiger Woods finds himself in competition getting into Sunday after a third-round 66 left him in a tie for sixth at the PGA Championship.
There are a number of causes to suppose Tiger Woods can pull this off on Sunday. There are simply as many causes to suppose he will not. We look at all of them.
Scott had a 65, regardless of lacking three putts from 6 toes, two of them for birdie. He is struggling via his worst season since he turned professional in 2000, and now has an opportunity to show it right into a yr he will not neglect.
Ten gamers had been inside 4 photographs of the lead, no title larger — no buzz larger — than Woods. He accomplished his second spherical Saturday morning with a 66, after which had one other 66 within the afternoon that was so good it was the worst he might have shot. He made nothing however pars over the ultimate 10 holes. On seven of the final eight holes, Woods had a birdie or eagle putt of 20 toes or nearer and missed all of them.
He was 4 photographs behind in a tie for sixth, the identical spot he was in going within the ultimate day at The Open final month at Carnoustie, when he briefly had the lead earlier than fading.
“I just wish I could have got myself a couple more shots closer to the lead,” Woods mentioned. “But there aren’t a lot of guys up there in front of me.”
The record included Jon Rahm (66), Rickie Fowler (69) and Gary Woodland (71), who gave himself an opportunity regardless of falling six photographs behind after a triple-bogey from his footprints within the sand at No. 10.
Koepka was at 12-under 198, and even along with his main pedigree — the primary participant with back-to-back U.S. Opens in 29 years — he’ll play within the ultimate group of a significant for the primary time. Koepka was within the penultimate group at the U.S. Opens he received.
He plans to spend Sunday morning understanding, as he has achieved all week at an area health club. Koepka was there Saturday morning with Johnson and seen everybody making an attempt to get photos of the world’s No. 1 participant.
“They were like, ‘Did you see the No. 1 player in the world was here?’ I don’t know what to say to that,” Koepka mentioned with amusing.
He cares solely about contained in the ropes, and he thrives within the majors.
“Every shot’s so important out here,” he mentioned.
No photographs had been extra necessary than a four-hole stretch he performed in 2 over that turned Sunday into what might be a free-for-all.
An Eight-foot par save on No. 13 gave Koepka a five-shot lead, however then two errant drives led to consecutive bogeys — the primary one from 100 toes away in a bunker, ending a streak of 43 holes with out a bogey, the following one when his tee shot stopped rolling at the bottom of a tree and compelled him to take a one-shot penalty to maneuver it away. He needed to rise up and all the way down to restrict the injury to a bogey. And then he made a 10-foot par.
“Try to make the best out of a bad situation and keep rolling,” Koepka mentioned.
Koepka received the U.S. Open on two totally different programs that required one excessive to the opposite in scoring — 16 below at Erin Hills, 1 over at Shinnecock Hills. Bellerive presents a special check. It’s so comfortable that the common rating Saturday was 69.5, and a cost can come from wherever.
“Not just myself, but everyone’s going to have to shoot low rounds,” Woods mentioned. “It’s soft, it’s gettable, and you can’t just go out there and make a bunch of pars.”
Scott received into the hunt with 4 birdies in a six-hole stretch on the entrance, arrange by his pure driving and iron play, and restricted errors with the putter. His solely miss was from inside Three toes for par on the 15th gap, although he answered instantly with a tee shot to 2 toes at the par-Three 16th.
He would not suppose something will match the enjoyment of being the primary Australian to win the Masters, in 2013. He’d prefer to learn how a lot one other main feels, notably throughout a yr wherein he has registered only one top-10 end.
“It’s a packed leaderboard and there are going to be about 10 of us looking for that round of the year,” Scott mentioned. “Someone will go out and do it and I’m glad I’m in that position that it could be me.”
As straightforward because it seems at occasions, Bellerive can nonetheless chunk at any second.
Jordan Spieth discovered that out on a gap that successfully ended his second bid for the profession Grand Slam. From properly proper of the 12th fairway, he tried to hit via a spot and as an alternative noticed his ball carom off a tree and out of bounds, resulting in triple-bogey and pushing him again to Four below for the event. He needed to accept a 69 and was eight photographs behind, with 27 gamers in entrance of him.
No one paid extra dearly than Woodland. Three photographs behind at the flip, he and Kevin Kisner had been in a entrance bunker. Woodland went over the inexperienced onto a slope at the again of one other bunker, and his subsequent shot went via the inexperienced again into the primary bunker. The sand had but to be raked, and Woodland’s ball was in his footprints. He wound up with triple-bogey, and scrambled to get again within the combine.
“Really confident going into tomorrow with the way I fought the last eight holes,” he mentioned.