Johnson snares lead as Koepka looms large at US PGA Championship

By Sports Desk August 08, 2020

Brooks Koepka remains in contention to complete a US PGA Championship three-peat after keeping new leader Dustin Johnson in his sights on Saturday.

Johnson will take a one-stroke advantage into the final round after firing a crisp 65 to reach nine under, but the 2019 runner-up looks set to face a strong challenge from the man who beat him to last year's title.

Back-to-back champion Koepka (69) picked up two shots over the final three holes to recover from a potentially damaging run of three straight bogeys.

Overnight leader Li Haotong coped less successfully with the pressure, carding a costly three-over 73 that included three bogeys and a double at the 13th.

Johnson, four shots back through 36 holes, ran into trouble with a double bogey of his own at the ninth, before steadying to finish with eight birdies on moving day.

The one-time major champion holds a narrow lead over Scottie Scheffler (65) and Cameron Champ (67), who are tied for second.

Cole Morikawa (65) and Paul Casey (68) are level with Koepka at seven under, but all eyes will be on the 30-year-old American on Sunday.

He could become the first golfer to win the tournament three times in a row since Walter Hagen in the 1920s.

Six men, including the improving Bryson DeChambeau (66) and 2015 winner Jason Day (70), are a further shot back at six under.

Tiger Woods fell well out of contention after carding a two-over 72 for the second successive round.

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    Woods was involved in a single-vehicle incident that saw his car roll "several hundred feet" on Tuesday – the 15-time major champion, who was "very fortunate" to survive, undergoing a long surgical procedure on his lower right leg and ankle.

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    After donning Woods' iconic red shirt and black pants, McIlroy – who finished tied for sixth at The Concession Golf Club in Florida – said: "Obviously things are looking a little better today than they were on Tuesday, but he's still got a ways to go. He's got a huge recovery ahead of him.

    "I think it was just for everyone to show their appreciation for what he means to us out here. If there was no Tiger Woods, I just think the Tour and the game of golf would be in a worse place.

    "He's meant a lot to us, he still does mean a lot to us, and I think that was just a little way to show that."

    Woods then tweeted: "It is hard to explain how touching today was when I turned on the tv and saw all the red shirts.

    "To every golfer and every fan, you are truly helping me get through this tough time."

    American Collin Morikawa, 24, followed in the footsteps of Woods after claiming the WGC-Workday Championship by three strokes.

    Winner of last year's U.S. PGA Championship, four-time PGA Tour champion Morikawa joined Woods as the only players to win a major championship and WGC event before turning 25.

    Further to that feat, Morikawa also became the seventh player to clinch four or more PGA Tour tournaments – including a major – under the age of 25 after Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas and Jerry Pate.

    Morikawa paid tribute to Woods, saying: "Tiger means everything to me. Yes, he had the crash and thankfully he's alright and hopefully he has a quick and great recovery, but I don't think we say thank you enough. So, I want to say thank you to Tiger." 

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    Winner of last year's U.S. PGA Championship, Morikawa used a three-under-par 69 to seal victory at the star-studded World Golf Championships event in Florida ahead of Viktor Hovland, Brooks Koepka and Billy Horschel on Sunday.

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    The overnight leader by two strokes, Morikawa recovered from a slow start after bogeying his second hole of the final round – the 24-year-old American birdieing three of five holes before the turn as he ended the day without dropping another shot.

    Norwegian star Hovland mounted a serious title charge following a five-under par 67, but he was unable to stop Morikawa.

    Hovland finished tied for second alongside four-time major champion Koepka (70) and Horschel (70) at The Concession Golf Club.

    McIlroy's final-round 71 saw the former world number one and four-time major winner slip down into a tie for sixth, six strokes adrift of Morikawa.

    Defending champion Patrick Reed (72) ended the co-sanctioned PGA and European Tour tournament a shot further back.

    Justin Thomas (71) earned a share of 15th at eight under, a stroke better off than U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau (69).

    It was a forgettable finish for world number one Dustin Johnson, who closed proceedings with a six-over-par 78.

    The two-time tournament winner plummeted 12 positions to T54 at five over the card.

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    Home hope Rafael Campos, ranked 666th in the world, finished in a tie for third after shooting a closing 70.

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