Sam Horsfield holds a one-shot lead at the halfway mark in the Celtic Classic as the Englishman eyes a second European Tour title this month.

Horsfield claimed his first victory at the Hero Open a fortnight ago and was back at the top of the leaderboard again at The Celtic Manor Resort on Friday.

A seven-under second round of 64 took Horsfield to 11 under, a stroke ahead of overnight leader Thomas Pieters.

Horsfield finished with an eagle three to hit the front, responding brilliantly to the blow of triple-bogey six after finding the bunker at the 17th.

There were nine birdies for Horsfield – including four in a row around the turn – and a bogey at the second to ensure the 24-year-old will start the weekend with a slender advantage.

The world number 133 is relishing the challenge, telling the European Tour website: "I've been in contention before, and to get it done and get it over the line.

"I've been there a few weeks ago and I know what the feelings are like. I'm really looking forward to it."

Belgian Pieters, who recently became a father, signed for a three-under 68, a third bogey of his round at 18 costing him a share of the lead.

English duo Callum Shinkwin and Andrew Johnston are a further shot back in third place along with Pieters' compatriot Thomas Detry.

Detry is bogey-free through the first half of the tournament, while the charismatic Johnston was four over through five holes after a triple-bogey seven at the first, but finished with a flourish to card a superb five-under 66.

Brooks Koepka downplayed his relationship with Dustin Johnson after his controversial comments at the US PGA Championship.

After the third round at TPC Harding Park on Saturday, Koepka reminded Johnson he had "only won one" major as both looked to claim the title in San Francisco.

Koepka fell short in his three-peat bid and Johnson ended up runner-up as Collin Morikawa won his maiden major.

Four-time major champion Koepka was criticised for those comments and the American downplayed his relationship with Johnson on Thursday.

"We worked out, I worked with Joey [Diovisalvi, trainer] for two years," he said after the first round of the Wyndham Championship.

"You guys make your own stories so I have no idea what you all do, but I think even the Jordan [Spieth] and Justin [Thomas] thing gets blown out too much.

"I think you guys overplay a lot of things."

In his comments at the US PGA, Koepka also said: "I don't know a lot of the other guys up there".

The 30-year-old, who opened with a two-over 72 at the Wyndham Championship, apologised, but felt too much was made about what he said.

"I apologise for the other guys comment just cos' I really didn't look at the leaderboard," Koepka said.

"I saw Dustin was at nine [under], I was at five at that point and then made two coming in so I really didn't even know where I kind of stood, didn't really look coming off 18 and then went right into the interview.

"I had no idea who was eight, who was seven, but I never really look at guys that are tied with me, I always kind of look ahead so I had no idea but I get it, I get how it came across and I apologise for that."

Thomas Pieters enjoyed an emphatic return to action on Thursday to lead the Celtic Classic, while two players withdrew over coronavirus fears.

French duo Alex Levy and Romain Wattel were unable to compete, with the former becoming the first player on the European Tour to test positive for COVID-19.

But Pieters, who became a father during the coronavirus-enforced suspension and delayed his return a little longer than many other players, was in fine shape as he carded a seven-under-par 64.

A bogey on the second hole might have suggested a hint of unease, but the Belgian finished the front nine one under thanks to a pair of birdies.

He made six more gains after the turn, finishing with back-to-back birdies to edge out early clubhouse leader Toby Tree and Australia's Jake McLeod by one stroke.

Edoardo Molinari and Sebastien Soderberg are two of six players within two strokes of the summit.

The day did not get off to the best of starts, however, as it was confirmed Levy had been withdrawn after telling organisers he had contact with someone at home over the weekend who returned a positive result.

He was then re-tested and the result came back positive, which led to compatriot Wattel's precautionary withdrawal due to being a contact of Levy's.

Both Wattel and Levy's caddies were said to have tested negative for COVID-19.

Alex Levy was cut from the field for the European Tour's Celtic Classic on Thursday after a friend he spent time with last weekend tested positive for coronavirus.

Tour chiefs announced they were withdrawing Levy from the tournament on the morning of the first round at Celtic Manor.

Levy, 30, is a five-time winner on the European circuit.

"Upon arrival in Wales on Tuesday, Levy returned a negative test as part of the European Tour's testing strategy and is exhibiting no symptoms," a Tour statement read.

"However, as a precaution, the European Tour has withdrawn him from this week's tournament and Levy now must self-isolate for 14 days in accordance with local health authority guidance."

Levy said: "I told the European Tour immediately after finding out that my friend tested positive. I informed them of my movements since arriving on site as I wanted to ensure the safety of my fellow professionals and their caddies."

The Masters will be held behind closed doors in November due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The tournament, which has been held in April every year since 1945, was postponed to November 9-15 due to the threat of COVID-19.

While the major is still due to take place this year, organisers have said the risks involved in terms of allowing visitors into Augusta are "simply too significant to overcome".

Ticket holders for 2020 will be guaranteed the same tickets for the tournament next year.

Augusta chairman Fred Ridley said in a statement: "Since our initial announcement to postpone the 2020 Masters, we have remained committed to a rescheduled tournament in November while continually examining how best to host a global sporting event amid this pandemic.

"As we have considered the issues facing us, the health and safety of everyone associated with the Masters always has been our first and most important priority.

"Throughout this process, we have consulted with health officials and a variety of subject matter experts. Ultimately, we determined that the potential risks of welcoming patrons and guests to our grounds in November are simply too significant to overcome.

"Even in the current circumstances, staging the Masters without patrons is deeply disappointing. The guests who come to Augusta each spring from around the world are a key component to making the tournament so special.

"Augusta National has the responsibility, however, to understand and accept the challenges associated with this virus and take the necessary precautions to conduct all aspects of the tournament in a safe manner. We look forward to the day when we can welcome all of our patrons back, hopefully in April 2021.

"We appreciate the support and patience of all those we serve – including the Augusta community, our corporate and broadcast partners and our friends in golf – as we continue to plan for this historic event."

If Blink 182 are to be believed, nobody likes you when you're 23. 

Not that Collin Morikawa will care much if the song lyric is true, given he will start a new week as a major winner following his stunning US PGA Championship victory. 

A flawless six-under-par 64 in Sunday's final round earned the up-and-coming American a two-shot win from Dustin Johnson and Paul Casey. 

Only two men - Gene Sarazen (twice) and Tom Creavy - won the tournament before turning 23, while Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy were the same age as Morikawa when they triumphed. 

Esteemed company for Morikawa, then. Here is what the new major champion will now try and live up to. 

Jack Nicklaus (1963 - aged 23 years, six months) 

'The Golden Bear' was already a two-time major winner by the time he claimed the PGA Championship for the first time at the Dallas Athletic Club in July 1963. Nicklaus was three strokes back of leader Bruce Crampton heading into the final round but wound up winning by two shots from Dave Ragan. Nicklaus' haul of 18 majors remains a record, while his five PGA Championship triumphs is a joint-best with Walter Hagen.  

 
Tiger Woods (1999 - aged 23 years, seven months) 

In a memorable Medinah battle with fellow youngster Sergio Garcia, Woods prevailed to win the PGA Championship 21 years ago. He led Garcia by five after the 11th but stumbled down the stretch and triumphed by a solitary stroke. The American now has 15 majors to his name, while Garcia has just the one having been tipped to win multiple during those early years. Woods has four PGA Championship wins to his name, the last of which came in 2007. 

 
Rory McIlroy (2012, aged 23 years, three months) 

A couple of 67s sandwiched a 75 prior to a magical Sunday at Kiawah Island for a still fresh-faced McIlroy. The Northern Irishman needed just 24 putts in a round of 66 en route to winning by a record eight strokes as his nearest rivals stumbled. It was the first of McIlroy's two wins at the PGA Championship, the other coming two years later. Arguably the biggest surprise is the fact McIlroy has not yet managed to add another major since, with the former world number one stuck on four. 

Stephen Curry offered to be Collin Morikawa's caddie after the American's US PGA Championship success.

Morikawa fired a six-under 64 in the final round at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco to win his first major by two strokes on Sunday.

Golden State Warriors star Curry was in attendance and went to the 23-year-old's media conference afterwards.

After asking the first question, Curry – whose Warriors endured a poor 2019-20 NBA season and did not head to the bubble in Florida – followed up by asking to replace Morikawa's caddie J.J. Jakovac.

"I'm free for the next three months if you need a caddie or replacement. No, J.J. is a great guy, but if you need me, I'm available," Curry said.

Morikawa responded: "Perfect. I can't wait. I want to see your game."

Morikawa produced a brilliant final round to win his first major, becoming the third-youngest winner of the US PGA since World War II, behind only Rory McIlroy and Jack Nicklaus.

A three-time winner on the PGA Tour, Morikawa was proud to be alongside the greats.

"It's great company. It's been crazy, because this entire start of my professional career, I see all the things comparing to Tiger [Woods] and doing all this and then Tiger is on a completely different level. I think we all know that," he said.

"But any time you're in the conversation of the greats, Jack, Rory, Tiger, no matter who it is, if you're in that conversation, you're doing something well.

"So to know that, yeah, what I've done, what I did my four years in college, was obviously worth it, but there's just that extra sense of feeling good in my heart, to finish out, get my business degree, graduate, come out here knowing I'm prepared, and knowing that it's possible.

"You know, when you feel you're ready, you're ready, but to be in the conversation with those guys, it's very special and yeah, you know, I'm ready for the next."

Brooks Koepka turned his attention to the two remaining majors in 2020 as the American star remained upbeat following his unsuccessful attempt to win a third consecutive US PGA Championship.

Koepka struggled on the final day of the tournament in San Francisco, where Collin Morikawa broke through for his maiden major title thanks to a thrilling two-shot triumph on Sunday.

Eyeing a third straight US PGA crown and fifth major victory, Koepka started the day two strokes off the pace but a final-round 74 saw his hopes dashed at TPC Harding Park.

Koepka finished tied for 29th at three under through 72 holes, 10 shots behind fellow American Morikawa.

"To be honest, the bogey on two was not good," Koepka, with the U.S. Open and Masters to come, said as he reflected on his round.

"But to make the turn at four over was disappointing, to say the least. You knew you had to be under par, at least one, to have a good chance on the back side.

"It's my first bad round in a while in a major. You know, I was just there to cheer Paul [Casey] on. That was it. Just try to help him get it in the house and see how well he could finish, because I had put myself out of it already.

"Hey, wasn't meant to be. Three in a row, you're not really supposed to do two in a row looking at history, but that's all right. Got two more the rest of the season and we'll figure it out from there."

Asked about Morikawa as the 23-year-old closed in on his victory ahead of Paul Casey and Dustin Johnson, Koepka said: "He's a hell of a player. He's really good. You see these guys coming out of college now, they are ready to win, and prime example.

"I think of that group, him, Matt Wolff, Viktor Hovland, it's impressive what they do. They come out of college and they're ready to play out here. Hats off to him.

"For this week, it's impressive. This golf course, you really have to golf your ball and make some putts. He was obviously the best at that, and that's impressive. You know, to win a major this young in your career, he's got a lot of upside."

Paul Casey labelled Collin Morikawa as "something special" after the American's US PGA Championship win.

Morikawa carded a six-under 64 in the final round at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco on Sunday to beat Casey (66) and Dustin Johnson (68) by two strokes.

The 23-year-old became the third-youngest player to win the US PGA since World War II, behind only Rory McIlroy and Jack Nicklaus.

Casey, who has 10 top-10 finishes in majors without a win, paid tribute to Morikawa.

"I played phenomenal golf and there's nothing I would change. I'm very, very happy with how I played, great attitude, stayed very calm and stayed in the present. It wasn't enough," the Englishman said.

"The glorious shots Collin hit like on 16 to make eagle, you have to tip your cap. When he popped up on Tour not that long ago, those guys who were paying attention like myself knew that this was something special, and he's proved it today.

"He's already sort of proved it but he's really stamped his authority of how good he is today.

"But I'm very, very happy with everything. I kind of got my mojo back now."

Morikawa produced some magic at the 16th hole, putting an incredible 293-yard tee shot to within seven feet for eagle.

Casey had just made birdie at the same hole and the 43-year-old hailed Morikawa for his shot.

"It's my tee shot on the 17th which was bothering me more," he said.

"Brilliant shot. I love the fact we've got drivable par-fours. You know I'm a big fan of the shorter hole. I love the fact that we're given an opportunity, and then a guy like Collin steps up and shows you what's possible on a drivable par-four. Nothing I can do except tip my hat. It was a phenomenal shot.

"I knew he made the putt because we could hear the small roar, the small clap and cheer when he holed it in. I think I was on the 18th tee at the time. Yeah, I was very focused on myself, so other than acknowledging what a shot he hit, I was trying to take care of business."

Collin Morikawa revelled in an "amazing" victory after winning the US PGA Championship on Sunday.

The 23-year-old American became the third youngest player to win the tournament since 1946 thanks to a thrilling victory at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.

Morikawa fired a six-under 64 in the final round to secure a two-stroke victory ahead of Dustin Johnson and Paul Casey.

"It's amazing. It's been a life goal, obviously as a little kid, kind of watching everyone grow up, all these professionals, and this is always what I've wanted to do," he said at the trophy presentation.

"I felt very comfortable from the start. As an amateur, junior golfer, turning professional last year, but to finally close it off and come out here in San Francisco, pretty much my second home where I spent the last four years, is pretty special."

Morikawa produced some late magic with a chip in for birdie at the 14th before an eagle at the par-four 16th after an incredible tee shot.

The tee shot at 16 reminded Morikawa of a similar one at the Workday Charity Open last month, when he won his second PGA Tour title.

"[Fourteen] at Muirfield is pretty special, and my caddie looked at me after I hit my shot on 16 tee and asked me the same exact question. It just fit my eye," he said.

"We were just hoping for a really good bounce, and we got it, hit a really good putt, and now we're here."

Collin Morikawa made history after clinching the US PGA Championship in San Francisco, while he became the third-youngest winner since World War II.

Morikawa celebrated a breakthrough on Sunday, claiming his maiden major title by two strokes in a thrilling finish at TPC Harding Park.

The 23-year-old posted a final-round 64 to finish 13 under for the tournament, ahead of Paul Casey and Dustin Johnson.

With back-to-back rounds of 65 and 64 for a 129 score, Morikawa recorded the lowest closing 36-hole tally by a major champion.

Aged 23 years, six months and three days, Morikawa also became the third-youngest champion of the major since 1946, only behind Jack Nicklaus (23 years, six months in 1963) and Rory McIlroy (23 years, three months and eight days in 2012).

Morikawa's six-under-par 64 in the final round also tied the lowest final-round score by a US PGA winner since Steve Elkington in 1995.

Collin Morikawa claimed his maiden major triumph with a thrilling two-stroke victory at the US PGA Championship on Sunday.

The American, 23, got the better of a tight pack bidding for victory at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco thanks to some late brilliance.

Morikawa's final five holes included an eagle and a birdie as he fired a final-round six-under 64 to finish at 13 under.

Previously a two-time winner on the PGA Tour, Morikawa – playing his second major – chipped in for birdie at 14 before producing an incredible tee shot at 16 and holding his nerve to make eagle.

Morikawa is the third youngest US PGA winner since 1946, only behind Jack Nicklaus (1963) and Rory McIlroy (2012).

It came under enormous pressure during a thrilling final round in which seven players were at one stage tied for the lead with the last pairing on the back nine.

Dustin Johnson, the 2016 U.S. Open champion, was among that group and look favoured for a second major triumph, but the American finished as runner-up with Paul Casey (66) at 11 under after a 68.

Matthew Wolff (65), Jason Day (66), Bryson DeChambeau (66), Tony Finau (66) and Scottie Scheffler (68) finished in the group tied for fourth.

Bidding to win a third straight US PGA title, Brooks Koepka struggled massively to a 74.

McIlroy (68) finished tied for 33rd at two under, a shot ahead of Tiger Woods, who fired his best round of the tournament with a 67.

With the final pairing on the back nine, seven players – Johnson, Day, Morikawa, Finau, Scheffler, Casey and Wolff – were tied for the lead at 10 under.

Wolff was the clubhouse leader following his 65, but Morikawa edged ahead thanks to some brilliance at the 14th, chipping in after leaving an approach short.

Scheffler, in the final pairing alongside Johnson, slipped out of the leading group following a bogey at 13.

Bryson DeChambeau, who made a red-hot start before dropping back-to-back shots at eight and nine, joined the group chasing Morikawa thanks to a birdie at 16.

Johnson dropped back to nine under after finding the bunker at 14, while Morikawa missed a chance to stretch his lead to two.

Despite finding two bunkers at the last, Day carded a 66 to join Wolff in the clubhouse lead.

Casey joined Morikawa at 11 under after a superb shot out of the bunker at 16 led to a birdie, but the latter produced some more magic.

Morikawa put his 293-yard tee shot at the par-four 16th to within seven feet and made the clutch putt to pull two clear, pars at the final two holes closing out his victory.

Morikawa's biggest hiccup of the day came when lifting the Wanamaker Trophy as the lid flew off during the presentation, but the victor was all smiles.

Collin Morikawa claimed his maiden major triumph with a thrilling victory at the US PGA Championship on Sunday.

Rory McIlroy hit out at Brooks Koepka's "mind games" at the US PGA Championship, with the former world number one insisting he tries to respect everyone.

Koepka aimed a dig at US PGA rival and overnight leader Dustin Johnson prior to Sunday's final round, highlighting the fact that the latter had only won one major compared to his four.

Bidding to achieve a US PGA three-peat, Koepka was forced to eat his words as the American star fell out of contention in San Francisco, where Johnson continued to battle atop the leaderboard.

McIlroy, who ended his TPC Harding Park campaign in a tie for 33rd following his two-under-par 68, was taken aback by Koepka's comments.

"It's different, right, it's a very different mentality to bring to golf that I don't think a lot of golfers have," McIlroy said during his post-round news conference.

"I was watching the golf last night and heard the interview and was just sort of taken aback a little bit by sort of what he said and whether he was trying to play mind games or not. If he's trying to play mind games, he's trying to do it to the wrong person. I don't think DJ really gives much of a concern [to] that.

"But just different. I certainly try to respect everyone out here. Everyone is a great player. If you've won a major championship, you're a hell of a player. Doesn't mean you've only won one; you've won one, and you've had to do a lot of good things to do that.

"I mean, sort of hard to knock a guy that's got 21 wins on the PGA Tour, which is three times what Brooks has."

McIlroy has not managed a top-10 performance since finishing tied for fifth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March prior to the coronavirus-enforced break.

The four-time major champion signed off at the US PGA with an eagle, two birdies and a pair of bogeys.

McIlroy said: "I'm happy just to be out on the golf course. So many people that still can't get back to work. I was even saying there, even where I live in Florida, it feels like a bubble. Not much has been locked down, sort of been able to go about our daily lives with not much interruption.

"I'm happy to be playing golf and grateful that we're still able to play out here. I haven't played as well as I've wanted to, but it beats being sat on the couch at home, so I'll take it."

McIlroy has not won a major tournament since 2014 and when asked about his struggles, the 31-year-old replied: "Maybe I'm just not as good as I used to be.

"I really don't know. I feel like the golf that I've played in the majors has been sort of similar to the golf I've played outside of them, and I've won some big events and played well and had a good season last season.

"I can't really put my finger on it. I go out there and try my best every single day. Some days I play better than others, and just got to keep going and keep persisting and see if you can do better the next time."

The competition at the top of the US PGA Championship leaderboard showed little sign of dispersing as Dustin Johnson had Paul Casey for company at the summit through nine holes.

Overnight leader Johnson held a one-stroke advantage heading into Sunday's final round as he aims to add to his sole prior major triumph at the 2016 U.S. Open.

But a number of stars were in hot pursuit and, despite a birdie at the first, Johnson failed to pull clear of the chasing pack before the turn.

A bogey at the third opened the door a little wider for those with serious title interests, but the former world number one bounced back at the next to return to 10 under.

Casey was there, too, by the time Johnson reached the ninth, though, building on scores of 68, 67 and 68 with birdies at the fourth, fifth and 10th.

Cameron Champ and Bryson DeChambeau had each earlier moved into position to challenge the frontrunner.

Champ – a 25-year-old with just two PGA Tour wins to his name – joined Johnson on 10 under and put away a vital 18-foot putt for par at the eighth, but he left himself with an awful lot to do at the following hole and fell two strokes off the pace.

Meanwhile, DeChambeau spectacularly lost momentum just as he briefly pulled level with Johnson, back-to-back bogeys undoing his hard work.

A clutch of others were also in contention, however, with impressive consecutive birdies following the turn giving Jason Day a share of third, one shot back.

Tony Finau, Collin Morikawa and Scottie Scheffler were all also on nine under.

Matthew Wolff had been among the same throng following a rapid ascent up the leaderboard – managing three straight birdies from the seventh, then adding an eagle at the 10th – but twice missed achievable putts that would have secured a co-lead before falling away.

Much further down the leaderboard, Brooks Koepka's round was going from bad to worse, with the two-time defending champion falling out of the picture completely.

Having highlighted Johnson's lack of winning major experience on Saturday, Koepka subsequently struggled from the outset and was four over on the front nine, way back on three under for the week.

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