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How Brooks Koepka outlasted a stacked leaderboard to win the PGA Championship at Bellerive

ST. LOUIS — The PGA Championship isn’t talked about first in any dialogue about which is the better of golf’s 4 main championships. On Sunday, at Bellerive Country Club, there was nothing however edge-of-your-seat, what-will happen-next drama from the second the ultimate teams caught a tee in the floor at the first gap.

There was the U.S. Open champion, Brooks Koepka, making an attempt to muscle his method to a third main championship. There was defending champion Justin Thomas making an early cost, asserting in his ultimate spherical he wasn’t going to give away this title with out a battle. There was Adam Scott, the Australian carrying the reminiscence of pal Jarrod Lyle, who died this week after a lengthy battle with most cancers.

There was Rickie Fowler, maybe the chief in the clubhouse when it comes to Best Player To Have Never Won a Major, making an attempt to make a Sunday push regardless of an indirect harm that restricted him all week.

And sure, there was Tiger Woods, this era’s best champion, making an attempt to finish a decadelong major-title drought by making a final-round cost earlier than a monstrous, loud, supportive crowd in St. Louis.

In the finish, although, it was Koepka who held off the complete area and walked away along with his second main title of the 12 months. Here is why Koepka, and never another person, is holding the trophy:

Brooks Koepka captured his second main title of the season by successful the PGA Championship. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Why it was Brooks Koepka
Koepka has made be aware greater than as soon as this week that regardless of successful back-to-back U.S. Opens, he has flown beneath the radar. It’s clear it bothers him. On Sunday, it was clear the gallery at Bellerive Country Club needed to see Tiger Woods flip again time. The roars have been heard throughout the golf course. Koepka wasn’t fazed, similar to he wasn’t fazed by the agency and windy circumstances that aggravated so many in the area at the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills. The different purpose: He answered each problem. With Woods charging and with taking part in companion Adam Scott making a transfer, he did not budge. Sure, Koepka made bogeys at Nos. four and 5 to give the area hope, however he rattled off three consecutive birdies to shut his entrance 9 and two extra at Nos. 15 and 16 to shut the deal.

Why it wasn’t Tiger Woods
That Woods will not be holding up a main championship trophy for the 15th time in his life might be traced again to one membership: his putter. It failed him all day Saturday, when he couldn’t convert birdie putts to shut his second spherical and all through his third spherical throughout a 29-hole day in the St. Louis warmth. On Sunday, although his putter was extra cooperative, two missed putts that stayed out by fractions of inches have been why he walked away having simply missed — once more. On No. 11, Woods had 27 ft for birdie. The putt was proper in the center of the gap the complete method. All it wanted was yet one more revolution. In 2005, at the Masters, he obtained that ultimate activate the 16th inexperienced at Augusta National. A business was born. This time, on Sunday at the PGA, the ball stopped. On No. 14, only one shot out of the lead, he had 14 ft for par. The ball seemed good because it approached the gap, however it hit the proper edge, went partially down the gap earlier than violently lipping out.

Why it wasn’t Adam Scott
Scott did not do a lot for six holes. A bogey at the first, then 5 straight pars made him, it appeared, an afterthought amid all the drama round him. Then, with out warning, he caught hearth. He birdied No. 7. Then he made one other at No. eight. After a par at No. 9, he rattled off three extra birdies over his subsequent 4 holes. The massive swing, the one which probably value him a likelihood at a second main title, got here at No. 15. Both he and Koepka have been trying at makeable birdie putts. Scott missed his from 18 ft; Koepka made his from 10 ft. That was it.

Why it wasn’t Rickie Fowler
He was in rivalry, on the verge of a main title. Sound acquainted? It ought to. This has occurred earlier than. While the others chasing Koepka had a second when issues fell aside, Fowler by no means did. The drawback is he by no means had any moments when there was hope this was the time. While others have been making birdies throughout Bellerive, Fowler did, properly, nothing. He parred his first 4 holes, earlier than bogeying the fifth. He did not register his first birdie till the 13th gap. By then, it was too late. The leaders had moved too far forward. Fowler’s seek for that elusive first main title goes on.

Why it wasn’t Justin Thomas
Thomas began sizzling, with three birdies in seven holes. He had one other good look at No. eight, a birdie that may have put much more strain on Koepka. Not solely did Thomas miss that one, however he missed the brief par putt coming again. Thomas, identified to get indignant then transfer on, recovered rapidly with birdies at Nos. 10 and 11. But then hassle got here up from out of nowhere on No. 14. In the center of the fairway, with simply 124 yards to the gap on the par four, Thomas hit in the greenside bunker and failed to rise up and down. Two good alternatives for birdies that as a substitute grew to become bogeys are the principal causes he did not maintain up the Wanamaker Trophy for a second consecutive 12 months.

Why it wasn’t Thomas Pieters
Pieters appeared poised to put up a low quantity the leaders coming down the stretch would have to stare at over the ending holes. He birdied three in a row, at Nos. 14, 15 and 16, to go to 6 beneath on his spherical and 12 beneath for the event. That could be a scary quantity as the strain mounted and the greens grew to become even bumpier for the ultimate teams. Then the 17th gap occurred. He hammered his tee shot into the water up the proper aspect. He dropped one after which promptly hit one other in the water. By the time he was accomplished, he posted a double-bogey 7. And similar to that, his hopes for a PGA win and his first main championship disappeared

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