IT was so almost the story of the year.
A three-way race for the 2018 PGA Championship in Missouri.
Either Adam Scott, playing with the late Jarrod Lyle in mind, would have claimed a win out of nowhere, or Tiger Woods would’ve crowned his incredible comeback with his first major since 2008.
Instead, it was the iceman, Brooks Koepka.
No fuss or commotion — much like his playing style; the two-time US Open champion never surrendered his overnight lead, and stayed strong throughout when others might have crumbled.
Scott pulled level on the back-nine, but Koepka went birdie, birdie on 15 and 16 to extend his lead to two, and never looked back; finishing four-under for the round, and 16-under for the tournament.
After a final hole bogey from Scott, Woods finished in second place on 14-under, with the Aussie two shots clear of fourth place at 13-under.
The roars from the crowd that followed Tiger all day never seemed to faze Koepka; who is making a habit of taking leads, and keeping them.
“The crowds here, they definitely let you know what’s going on,” Koepka said after his win.
“The beginning of the back-nine, I could hear all the roars. When Tiger started making his little run, and Scotty made his run, it got quite loud.”
Koepka becomes just the fifth man to win the US Open and PGA Championship in the same year. A year that started with a wrist injury that nearly derailed everything.
“To going from not even sure that I was going to play again, to even playing this year, playing the same way, and to come back out, it’s actually mind-boggling. I don’t have an answer for it,” Koepka admitted.
“I think my focus [is the key], but I need to take it over into regular tour events too. For some reason, the majors just get my attention.
“Every shot is so important, and when you’re out here firing away, firing at some flags, firing at the middle of the greens; you just got to be very patient, and I always do a pretty good job of that in the majors.”
If it wasn’t for Koepka’s impossible composure, it could have been so different for the chasing pack, particularly Woods, who put up his best closing round at a major.
“I played hard,” he said. “A bit of a struggle with my game today, but I hung in there.”
He did struggle … in a way. Unable to find the fairway once on the front-nine, the 42-year-old scrambled spectacularly well all day to stay within striking distance.
Meanwhile, Scott delivered his best finish at a major since 2013.
“I was feeling really good out there, especially as the back-nine got going,” the 38-year-old said.
“Just missed putts on 14 and 15, and Brooks made them, and my momentum was gone. I didn’t play the last two holes very well.”
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