Bethpage Black Course, Bethpage State Park, Long Island, New York — May 18, 2019
Sunday on the Bethpage Black Course was not the cakewalk Brooks Koepka hoped for when he teed off with a seven-stroke lead in the final round of the PGA Championship.
Chasing his 4th major championship in the last three years, Koepka dominated the first two rounds building his lead. Saturday he maintained it and just needed to not have the wheels come off on the final 18.
A bogey on the first hole is not the way you want to start defending a seven-stroke lead. But, he steadied his nerves and got the stroke back with a birdie on the Par 5, 4th hole. Even par after nine and only Dustin Johnson making any noise ahead of Koepka.
Johnson’s 3 birdies on the front nine cut into Koepka’s lead until Brooks birdied the 10th and Dustin bogeyed the 11th. Then, a bobble. Four bogeys in a row for Koepka and a Johnson birdie on 15. Could there be some actual drama over the final three holes?
Koepka stopped the bleeding with pars on 15 and 16. A bogey on 17 wasn’t as critical as it could have been after Johnson bogeyed 16 and 17.
Finishing all four rounds in the 60s, gave Johnson a total of six under for the tournament. His 69 on Sunday was not enough despite Koepka’s four over par 74. Brooks finished eight under to capture back-to-back PGA Championships.
Johnson was left to lament what could have been a historic come-from-behind victory.