FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Here’s the latest from the PGA Championship on Saturday at Bethpage Black.
Brooks Koepka is on the cusp of some elite company at the PGA Championship — in the record book, not on the leaderboard.
He is all alone on Bethpage Black, the public course he has turned into his private playground.
Koepka wasn’t at his best in Round 3, particularly with his putter on the toughest scoring day of the championship, and he still kept everyone far enough behind to make the final round feel more like a victory lap.
With an even-par 70 that featured a pair of three-putt bogeys, he kept a seven-shot lead and earned another entry in the record book with the largest lead since the PGA Championship switched to stroke play in 1958.
No one has ever lost a seven-shot lead in the final round at any major, or even a PGA Tour event.
That leaves Koepka 18 holes away from joining Tiger Woods as the only back-to-back winners of the PGA in stroke play. He is one round away from becoming the first player to hold back-to-back major title at the same time. Not since Hal Sutton in 1983 has anyone led from start to finish in the PGA Championship.
And a third straight year winning a major? Woods and Phil Mickelson are the only players to have done that over the last 30 years. Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer are the only others to win majors in three straight years dating to 1960.
Asked if there was any doubt he would win, Koepka said flatly, “No.”
He has all but flattened the strongest field in golf.
Koepka was at 12-under 198, the first time this week he did not set or tie a scoring record.
“I think we’re all playing for second,” said Luke List, one of four players tied for second.
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About the 101st PGA Championship at Bethpage Black
Dates: May 16-19.
Site: Bethpage State Park (Black Course).
Length: 7,459 yards.
Field: 156 players (136 tour pros, 20 club pros).
Prize money: TBA ($11 million in 2018).
Winner’s share: TBA ($1.98 million in 2018).
Defending champion: Brooks Koepka.
Last year: Koepka blocked out the cheers for a charging Tiger Woods with two birdies on the back nine at Bellerive for a 4-under 66 and a two-shot victory over Woods. In oppressive heat in St. Louis, Koepka finished at 264 to set the PGA Championship record and tie Henrik Stenson (2016 British Open) for lowest 72-hole score at all majors. Koepka became only the fifth player to win the U.S. Open and PGA Championship in the same year, and the first since Woods in 2000.
Tiger Tales: Tiger Woods ended 11 years without a major by winning the Masters for his 15th major, three behind the record held by Jack Nicklaus. A victory would tie him with Nicklaus with five PGA titles.
Grand Slam: Jordan Spieth gets his third attempt at winning the PGA Championship to become the sixth player with the career Grand Slam. He tied for 28th and tied for 12th in his previous two attempts.
Move to May: The PGA Championship moves to May for the first time since 1949.
Bethpage champions: Tiger Woods (2002 U.S. Open), Lucas Glover (2009 U.S. Open), Nick Watney (2012 Barclays), Patrick Reed (2016 Barclays).
Key statistic: Brooks Koepka is a combined 47-under par in his last five PGA Championship appearances.
Noteworthy: None of the five players with the career Grand Slam completed it at the PGA Championship.
Quoteworthy: “We thought it was smart. It looks brilliant now.” — PGA of America chief executive Seth Waugh on the PGA Championship moving to May in a year that Tiger Woods won the Masters.
Television: Thursday and Friday, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. (TNT); Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (TNT), 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. (CBS Sports).
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)