Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Kiawah Island, SC — May 22, 2021
Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka teed off in the final group at Kiawah Island Golf Resort hoping to settle the PGA Championship between the two of them. Mickelson made bogey to drop to 6 under, Koepka birdied to go to 7 under and they swapped places after the 1st hole.
Teeing off on the par-five 2nd hole, both players drove left. Koepka landed in a sand trap and had to lay up short of the green. Mickelson, just off the fairway, hit his second over the green into a waste area. Koepka missed the green to the left and ended up carding a double-bogey 7. Phil nestled his chip next to the pin for an easy birdie and left the 2nd green with a two-stroke lead.
Gary Woodland, the former U.S. Open Champion was the only golfer making a move early. He was 2 under after four holes making him -4 for the tournament.
On the short par-four 3rd hole, Mickelson missed the green with his drive, duffed his second shot off the green, and left a 20+ foot putt for par on the edge of the cup. After Phil dropped a stroke, Brooks had a chance to tie for the lead but missed a two-foot birdie and settled for par.
After an exciting opening three holes, both players found the fairway with their drives on the 4th hole and hit the green in regulation. Both players made par.
Woodland made a mess of the par-five 7th and gave back the ground he gained with a double-bogey seven. Louis Oosthuizen three-putted the 5th green and dropped to 4 under. Kevin Streelman, one under on the day, moved into a 2nd place tie with Koepka at -5.
On the par-three 5th, Brooks landed on the green, while Phil landed in the sand to the left of the green. His blast out settled quickly and rolled into the hole for a birdie to go back to 7 under. Koepka missed his birdie and settled for a tap-in par. Phil back up by two strokes.
Phil missed the 6th fairway with his tee shot and landed in a swale to the right of the green with his 2nd. Brooks dropped it inside 4-feet with his approach out of the middle of the fairway. A poor chip and a lipped-out putt dropped Mickelson to -6. Koepka rolled in the short birdie put and they tied for the tournament lead again.
The par-five 7th was an opportunity for both golfers to improve their score. Brooks missed the fairway and Phil nailed it down the middle. Taking aim at the green in two, Kopka hit it into the gallery short and right. Phil hit it pin high but also missed to the right, just in a better position than his playing partner.
In the high grass next to a water hazard, Brooks could only punch it out short of the green. His lofty chip flew well past the hole. Phil’s chip left him 10-feet short of the pin. Putting downhill from 24-feet, Brooks hit it well past the hole. Phil ran his putt into the center of the cup for a birdie. Koepka salvaged a bogey making his 5-footer, but it was another two-stroke swing. Phil -7, Brooks -5.
No Movement in the Field
As the two leaders battled it out, no one in the field could mount a charge. Oosthuizen finished his nine at 5 under, behind him the lowest score was 3 under by Kevin Streelman. But, the holes were running out.
Both players hit the green on the par-three 8th and settled for par. On to the 9th to close out the front nine. Mickelson missed the fairway right, Koepka hit into the sand running along the left side of the hole. Both managed to find the green with their approach shots and both made par.
Streelman and Oosthuizen bogeyed the 10th and the challengers were fading away. Padraig Harrington and Shane Lowry, in the clubhouse at 2 under, sat tied for 4th. Mickelson birdied #10 while Koepka made bogey and the lead ballooned to four strokes.
Eight to Play
Mickelson and Koepka both struggled on the par-five 11th, both sitting off the green after their 3rd shots. Phil made par and Keopka made bogey. Oosthuizen birdied the 12th and moved into 2nd place at 5 under, three strokes behind the leader.
Both players in the final group made par on the 12, while one hole ahead of them Oosthuizen found trouble on the 13th. After hitting into the water Louis carded a double bogey dropping him into a tie at 3 under with Koepka trailing Phil by five strokes.
The 13th proved unlucky for all the leaders as Koepka hit it in the waste area off the tee and missed the green left into the gallery. Phil settled his drive into the fairway but his 2nd shot rolled into the water hazard just off the fringe of the green on the right. Brooks duffed his 3rd shot and still did not make the green. Phil was able to drop at the edge of the green and his par putt rolled to within an inch of the cup.
With the bogey, each player dropped a stroke. It was Mickelson at 7 under, Oosthuizen at -3, and Koepka in a crowd at -2.
On the par-three, 14th Oosthuizen had made par when Mickelson and Koepka came to the tee. Missing the green cost Phil another stroke as he made bogey. Brooks par kept him in the hunt. The lead was three.
Mickelson made par on the 15th, a bride by Koepka brought him to within three strokes of the lead.
Three Up, Three to Play
Oosthuizen had an eagle putt on the 16th and just missed the cup. Still, the birdie brought him to within two of the lead. His shot into the par-three 17th blew through the green and off the putting surface.
Two long drives had Brooks and Phil in the fairway off the tee. Koepka missed the green short and left, his ball rolling down into the greenside trap. Mickelson went long but chipped to within a foot, his birdie boosted the lead back to three strokes. Koepka got up and down for a birdie of his own and joined Oosthuizen at 4 under after Louis saved par on the 17th.
After Koepka hit the 17th green, Mickelson bounced his shot through the green into deep grass at the back of the putting surface. Brooks made par, while Phil chipped on and two-putted for bogey. On the 18th, Oosthuizen made par, and Phil walked to the 18th tee with a two-stroke lead.
The Final Hole
Phil’s drive left into the gallery was off-line, but it was the safe side of the fairway to miss on. A nine-iron, pin high, from 158-yards, settled softly in 2-putt range and the tournament belonged to Mickelson.
At the age of 50 years, 11 months, and 7 days Mickelson was the oldest player ever to win one of professional golf’s major tournaments. Golf fans everywhere celebrated the victory.
Final Leaderboard of the 103rd PGA Championship
|44||Daniel Van Tonder||4||75||70||74||73|
|49||Byeong Hun An||5||73||75||77||68|
|49||Harold Varner III||5||73||76||71||73|