PGA Championship report: What happened on Sunday at Bethpage Black?

On Saturday night Dustin Johnson bogeyed his final hole to miss out on the chance to be paired with his good friend and gym buddy Brooks Koepka in what looked like a futile attempt to overturn a huge lead.

As it was Johnson went off two groups back with Hideki Matsuyama and, from seven shots back, he made the final day a stunning affair.

Nobody of the late starters was able to make any progress other than Johnson who reached the turn in 3-under to close the gap to four shots. Other than his muscle mate it was the first time that any other player had reached the lofty heights of eight under.

No sooner had that happened than Koepka notched his second birdie at the 10th to go with Johnson’s first bogey a hole ahead and, from there, it turned into the slugfest that we’ve been waiting for all week.

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Koepka’s driver had just looked like clicking into gear but three missed fairways meant three straight bogeys before he airmailed the short 14th from where he was unable to retrieve a par.

With Johnson’s fourth straight birdie at the same hole it meant the lead was down to one. After nearly four whole days of Koepka dominating his peers in brutal fashion it looked like that he might be pipped at the death.

But being close to the lead of a major brings its own troubles and few know this better than Johnson who only has one of them. He then went into reverse, unable to save par from two thick, sticky lies and the advantage was back to three.

There was even more drama to come as Koepka three-putted the penultimate hole and then went left off the final tee but, as he had done all week, he showed skill, nerve and nous to eke out a par. It is the first time a major winner has shot over par, Koepka was round in 74, in the final round since Graeme McDowell at Pebble Beach in 2010.

The win gives him four victories in his last eight major starts and his first wire-to-wire – to put the first part into some sort of context the only men in the modern era to win four or more majors in a span of eight starts are Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.

PGA Championship report

For Johnson he now has the runner-up slam.

Of the others Matt Wallace broke up the American dominance with a share of third with Jordan Spieth and Patrick Cantlay while Rory McIlroy, with a pair of weekend 69s, elevated himself into a share of 8th. The win for Koepka moves him alongside McIlroy on four majors.

Harold Varner III, who played alongside Koepka in the final group, had the high round of the day, an 81, to tumble down to 36th.

PGA Championship report: Sunday talking points

When you look back and wonder quite how tough some of this course was set up then have a look at this. Moments earlier we had watched Rory McIlroy fail to muscle one out of the second cut and then we watched Harold Varner III, in the final twoball, lose his chip out. He was only trying to advance it 100 yards, it went straight left, was never seen again and would lead to a second straight double.

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In Saturday’s post-round press conference Koepka said that he likes to take the best bits from two players, Johnson and Graeme McDowell.

After his final round McDowell was asked for some insights on the American, who has a fellow Portrush man Ricky Elliott on his bag. As ever with McDowell it was a good listen.

“He’s a tough guy to get to know. I wouldn’t even say I know him very well and I may be know him better than most. You can’t teach somebody to think the way that Brooks Koepka thinks. I wish I could think that way. I wish I could use negativity the way he’s able to use it. He just drives himself to another level. Tiger was very different from that, he didn’t seem to need negativity but Brooks gets himself there via the little chips, via the negative comments he gets from people and he’s able to take himself to places that.”

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Even Koepka’s girlfriend Jena Sims sometimes struggles to get close as we see here.

‘Little cuddle?’

‘Nope.’

‘Quick kiss?’

‘See you at 18…’

PGA Championship report: Best photo

PGA Championship report: Best quote

Club pro Rob Labritz, who made the cut, on whether he would like to have his ashes spread at Bethpage?

I do. This place is a special place to me. Might take a quarter of them and maybe go to Shinnecock, too.

PGA Championship report: Best stats

My colleague Joe Hughes has run the rule over the incredible numbers and records behind Koepka’s major career. You can read that here.

PGA Championship report: Best tweet

PGA Championship report: Best moments

 

Keep up to date with all the action from Bethpage with NCG’s dedicated PGA Championship website as well as on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

 

 

If you missed the best bits from Saturday, head to the next page…