Brooks Koepka clings on to complete US PGA defence

Brooks Koepka 2019 Us Pga Champion

It was closer than anybody expected – way closer – but Brooks Koepka is a major champion for the fourth time.

The 29-year-old, who led by a record seven shots after 54 holes, ultimately edged out Dustin Johnson by just two shots to successfully defend the US PGA Championship.

Koepka now has four major titles in his last eight starts, as many major victories as Rory McIlroy and Ernie Els, and has climbed back to the top of the Official World Golf Rankings, replacing Johnson in the process.

He has also become just the fifth wire-to-wire champion in the history of the US PGA and the first player to win it back-to-back since Tiger Woods in 2006/07.

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However, he had to do it the hard way, grimly holding on to his lead as the Black Course at Bethpage showed its teeth on a brutal final day. 

How tough was it? Put it this way: the final round scoring average on the par-70 layout was 73.44 - almost half-a-stroke tougher than any other round this week."It was a grind out there," admitted Koepka afterwards. "I'm just relieved there are no more holes to play."

That's for sure.

After turning level for his round, he looked set to enjoy a long victory procession after picking up a shot the tenth. 

That's when it all started to unravel.

Four consecutive bogeys from 11 to 14 allowed Johnson to close to within two shots of the lead. No sooner had he done that, however, than DJ proceeded to bogey back-to-back holes. He salvaged an unlikely par after an errant drive to set the cluhouse target at six-under. 

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When Koepka bogeyed the par-3 17th to fall back to eight-under, and then pulled his tee shot at 18 into trouble on the left, it appeared as though an unlikely play-off could be on the cards. However, he pitched out and then hit a nerveless approach to six feet, giving him the luxury of two putts for the title. 

In the end, he needed only one.

That closing 74 was 11 shots worse than his opening round and the highest final round score to par by a major champion since Vijay Singh at the 2004 PGA but none of that will be of any consequence to Koepka.

Not when he wakes up on Monday and sees the Wanamaker Trophy still sitting there.

Brooks Koepka Us Pga Win

"This one's definitely at the top of the list of how emotionally spent I am and how mentally spent I am," he said when asked to rank his four titles. 

"It was a difficult day, a difficult golf course, and it just was a battle. DJ played a hell of a round to come back and to grind it out there. I'm very, very satisfied. This is probably the most satisfied I've been with all the majors."

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Koepka's win makes him the first player in the history of men's golf to hold two different major championships back-to-back simultaneously and the first player to win four men's majors in two years or fewer. 

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He is also the only player currently under the age of 30 with four major wins and the fourth in the modern era to win two different majors multiple times before the age of 30, joining Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros and Tiger Woods. 

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