Oak Hill Country Club, Rochester, NY — May 21, 2023
Third-round PGA Championship leader Brooks Koepka started Sunday’s final round paired with Viktor Hovland holding a single-stroke advantage. Hovland parred the first three holes and watched as Koepka birdied two and three to push the lead to three strokes.
Koepka then sunk another birdie putt on the 615-yard par five fourth hole, making it three in a row. Four holes in was a little early to say Hovland faced a must-make putt, but it looked that way. He calmly rolled his ball into the hole and saved himself from going four strokes behind.
On the par-three fifth, Koepka had a chance to make it four birdies in a row. He just missed. Hovland, however, took advantage of the situation and made his second birdie in a row to draw back to within two shots of the lead.
Justin Rose, Bryson DeChambeau, and Corey Conners sat at four under, playing ahead of the final twosome. They may have realized if they could not start to put some red numbers on their scorecards, the tournament might already be over for them.
On the 503-yard sixth hole, Koepka missed the fairway, and his ball landed in a swampy area to the right. After taking a drop, Brooks hit it on the green. With an opportunity to put some pressure on, Hovland landed his approach into the right greenside bunker.
Hovland blasted out of the bunker to eight feet from the hole and sunk the put to save par. Koepka two-putted for a bogey, and the lead was cut back to one stroke.
After hitting 14 greens in regulation, Koepka missed his second in a row. He landed just outside of the right greenside bunker and had to stand in the sandtrap to hit his shot onto the green. He left it well short.
Hovland also bogeyed the hole, and the lead remained at one. But, Scottie Scheffler climbed back into contention with birdies on seven and eight, getting him to four-under-par, three back of the lead.
After a bogey at the seventh, DeChambeau also birdied the eighth to climb back to four under.
Hovland scrambled out of the rough on his drive and greenside to get up and down for par on eight. Koepka failed to get his approach shot on the upper tier of the green and two-putted from 35 feet to also make par.
Koepka drove left into the gallery on the ninth hole. He caught a break when the ball settled into the grass, trampled by the fans. He was able to put his approach shot on the green.
Hitting out of the fairway, Hovland airmailed the green and will have to scramble again for his par. Both players made par, and it was on to the final nine holes.
What Might Have Been
Cameron Smith shot a five-under-par 65. It was his first sub-par round of the tournament (72,72,70) to finish at one under. Sepp Straka matched the 65 and lower his score for the week to two-under-par.
Cameron Davis and Kurt Kitayama both carded 65s to become the early leaders in the clubhouse at three under par.
The Final Nine
On the tenth, Hovland played safe to the center of the green, Koepka went for the pin and landed within five feet. Hovland’s putt peeked into the hole but rolled four feet past. He made the comeback for par. Brooks sunk his birdie putt and moved two strokes up.
On the par-three 11th hole, Koepka missed the green, landing short with the ball buried under the lip of the front bunker. Again Koepka landed in the center of the green.
Somehow Koepka blasted out to within 10 feet. Viktor two-putted for par, and Brook’s par putt slid by to the right, giving back the stroke he earned on the previous hole.
Sheffler got to five under with a birdie on the 13th hole. Both leaders hit the green on the 12th. Koepka birdied, and Hovland two-putted for par. The lead grew to two strokes.
Micheal Block thrilled the crowd on the par three 15th hole. His shot went directly from tee to cup for a hole-in-one. taking him to even par for the tournament.
Hovland drove into the trees on the left side of the 623-yard par-five 13th. He got a good bounce and still managed to hit the green in regulation. Koepka’s left his third shot short of the hole but still on the green. Hovland birdied, and Koepka two-putted for par. Again, down to a one-stroke lead.
Sheffler made another birdie on 14 to keep pace with the leaders at six under.
On the short par-four 14th hole, Koepka drove to the back of the green, and Hovland landed short. Both birdied the hole and created some space between themselves and Sheffler.
On the par-tree 15th, both leaders hit the green and two-putted, moving to the final three holes of the tournament.
Both players missed the fairway on the 16th. Koepka in the rough and Hovland in the fairway bunker. Viktor’s second shot embedded itself into the lip of the bunker. And with it, his hopes of hoisting the Wannamaker likely went away with it.
Hovland ended up with a double bogey, dropping into a tie with Sheffler at six under. Brooks calmly stroked in the birdie putt to go four up at ten under par.
Sheffler birdied the 18th to go seven-under-par and record the fifth 65 of the final round. Koepka bogeyed 17, while Hovland made a nice up and down to save par.
Both players drove safely in the fairway on the last hole. Each followed up by safely hitting the green. Hovland made birdie to tie Sheffler. Brooks Koepka two-putted for par and a two-shot victory in the PGA Championship.
Results of the 105th PGA Championship from Oak Hill Country Club
|T18||Min Woo Lee||2||73*||67||71||71||282|
|T29||Harold Varner III||5||70*||71||74||70||285|