By Steve Keating
ROCHESTER, New York (Reuters) -Brooks Koepka claimed a PGA Championship hat-trick and a landmark major win for LIV Golf on Sunday but the day also belonged to Michael Block, a 46-year-old club professional, who capped a golfing fairytale with a hole-in-one.
Kopeka, saying he had learned his lessons from last month’s Masters when he led by two going into the final round before a collapse opened the door for Jon Rahm to grab the Green Jacket, began the day with a one shot advantage and would not let go.
He carded a three-under 67 for a two-shot victory over Scottie Scheffler and Viktor Hovland. The win gives Koepka a fifth major and third PGA Championship to go with back-to-back wins in 2018 and 2019.
With Koepka clinging to a one-shot lead, the turning point came at the par four 16th where the big-hitting American had a birdie and Hovland a double-bogey after trouble in a fairway bunker, opening up a four-shot cushion.
The win will also be remembered as a landmark moment for LIV Golf, Koepka’s major victory the first by a member of the controversial Saudi-bankrolled venture providing badly needed validation.
For all the magic produced by golf’s biggest names at Oak Hill none could match what Block, an unknown club professional, conjured up.
Already a fan favourite before the final round teed off, Block, one of 20 teaching professionals in the field, added to a Rocky-like Hollywood script when his tee shot at the par-three 15th soared into the air and slammed straight into the cup without even rattling the flagstick.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Rochester; Editing by Toby Davis and Ken Ferris)