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We’re not saying the 2019 US PGA Championship is over or anything but for someone other than Brooks Koepka to win, the 29-year-old American will have to do something that no player in the history of major championships and the PGA Tour has ever done.

Surrender a seven-shot, 54-hole lead.

The advantage that defending champion Koepka started the third round with is the advantage he talks into the final 18 holes around the Black Course at Bethpage.

He was far from his best on an increasingly tricky Saturday in New York, managing only to post a level-par 70, but it didn’t matter a jot. His closest competitors couldn’t mount a challenge – most notably playing partner Jordan Spieth who laboured to a two-over 72 – with the biggest threat to Koepka coming from further down the leaderboard.

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Thai golfer Jazz Janewattananond, making just his second major start, carded a 67 as did Harold Varner III. That got both players to five-under for the tournament and into a share of second alongside world No.1 Dustin Johnson and another American Luke List.

However, with Koepka on 12-under, you could forgive the Wanamaker Trophy engraver for going to work.

Afterwards, Koepka was asked if there was any doubt in his mind that he’s going to finish off the job and win his fourth major, all of which in his last eight starts.

“No,” he replied. “I feel confident. I feel good. I feel excited. I feel confident going into tomorrow. I don’t know what the forecast is. But if I can hit a few fairways, there’s really a couple key holes out here. You play seven well, play ten and 12 well, and then from there, you just hit the centre of the greens and try to par this place to death.”

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Not that he intends to play conservatively.

“I’m definitely not going to let up, I promise you that,” he added. “I’m just trying to hit the best possible shot I can at the time.”

The stats would suggest he’s doing a fine job of just that. Koepka currently leads the field in Stroke Gained: Tee-To-Green, Strokes Gained: Approach, Greens In Regulation, Approach Shot Proximity, Proximity From Fairway, Proximity From Outside 200 Yards, and, just for good measure, Scrambling. 

Brooks Koepka Pga Round 3 2019

“I enjoy the confidence I have and what I’m playing with right now,” he added.

If you’d think that’s affecting his competition, you’d be right.

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Xander Schauffele, currently tied eighth on three-under-par, said: “I think I’ll have a chance to come in second place. This is a major championship, and everyone is here to win, but there’s only one guy who’s absolutely just destroying this place. So I’m sure he’s having a blast. But for the rest of us, he’s making it awfully boring.”

Boring or otherwise, it looks as though nothing can stop Brooks Koepka at the moment. Not the best players in the world. Not one of the game’s toughest courses. Not even himself.

Yeah, on second thought, stick a fork in it. 

This championship’s done.


author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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