Golf-Koepka positions himself for major re-do at PGA Championship

(Reuters) – Brooks Koepka conquered the rain at Oak Hill on Saturday and now, six weeks after squandering a final-round Masters lead, gets a re-do of sorts as he takes a lead into the final round of the PGA Championship.

On a challenging day in which only nine players broke par, Koepka fired a four-under 66 for the second consecutive day, making him the first player in PGA Championship history to have the outright best round twice in the same championship.


For his efforts, the four-time major champion will take a one-shot lead over world No. 11 Viktor Hovland and Canada’s Corey Conners while Koepka’s fellow LIV Golf member Bryson DeChambeau sits a further two shots back in fourth place.

Koepka has held the 54-hole lead/co-lead in a major on four previous occasions but in his most recent one, at the Masters in April, he let slip a two-shot cushion.

The 33-year-old American had a sleepless night that Sunday and needed a few days to digest what happened and said at Oak Hill he took some valuable lessons from that experience that he hopes will pay off in the final round.

“To just never think the way I thought going into the final round. I think that was a big thing for me but other than that I think even having – learning what I learned at Augusta kind of helped today,” said Koepka.

“Like I said, I won’t do it again the rest of my career. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t go play bad – you can play good, you’ll play bad but I’ll never have that mindset or that won’t ever be the reason.”

With a victory, Koepka would become the 20th player to win five or more major titles.

Koepka conquered both the rain and a challenging Oak Hill course as he reached the turn at one-under 34 and was brilliant on the back nine where he recorded a trio of birdies, including at the penultimate hole with a massive 46-foot putt.

“It felt good. Felt like it was a bit more aggressive today,” Koepka said of his putting. “Especially in the back nine and putts started banging in the back of the hole, especially the one on 17, that doesn’t go in, that’s probably six, eight feet by.

“But it’s tough, man, with the rain. Moisture on the greens, slowing them up. But I felt like I was a lot more aggressive than I was the previous two days on the greens.”

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Richard Chang)