PGA Championship: Woods chases leader Koepka


PGA Championship: Woods chases leader Koepka

The four-time USPGA victor is four shots off the lead heading into the final round at St Louis, with Brooks Koepka now leading the field.

Brooks Koepka had his rivals on the ropes but could not deliver a knockout punch and had his lead whittled to two strokes over Adam Scott after the third round at the PGA Championship on Saturday.

The 14-time major victor was three under for his round to that point and carried on where he left off on Saturday morning, pitching to five feet and holing the birdie putt. The backwards hat and sunglasses scream, "I WANT TO WIN MAJOR NUMBER 15!"

Well, it depends on how you look at it. Woods is the most intriguing challenger, of course, because he has made remarkably fast progress in this comeback, and because he was four off the 54-hole lead at Carnoustie - just like he is at Bellerive - before he surged to the top of the board and flipped the sports world on its ear. He came up short of the green, chipped too strong and made bogey for a 64, leaving him one shot out of the lead Friday.

Spieth made four birdies in the last five holes of the front nine to move all the way to 7 under before a wild drive on the par-4 12th derailed his momentum. He runs that by 3-4 feet and the misses the comebacker. It was a massively squandered opportunity, one that could easily have seen him grouped with Koepka in the final pairing.

Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler and Gary Woodland are at nine-under, with Woods another shot back, in a six-way tie for sixth. "I take full responsibility". It is a trend he has yet to buck.

Woods has been pressing to play for the US Ryder Cup team but must win the PGA to automatically qualify for the squad going to France next month to defend the trophy against Europe. Koepka appears fearless with the driver. "The golf course is playing soft, it's gettable, you have to make birdies". Tiger's driver still remains a liability. "It was a long day".

As of now, just going off the broadcast, it feels more like a mid-level PGA Tour event than the 100th edition of one of golf's most important, tradition and history-rich championships.

Woods began the back nine with a par effort on No. 10, remaining at 11-under and hoping that someone ahead of him stumbles. He has posted four top-10s and should be feeling more comfortable in such situations. He muscled it three feet past the hole, then pulled the comebacker off line and, after settling for a disappointing par, he briefly grabbed the putter with both hands, as if to bend it, before deciding better of it. Why can't he do it again? Any player who made the cut but doesn't submit a 72-hole score will also get $3,100. And yet, there were times he fell behind during the final round and still won. Maybe the way it gets done now is for Woods to go out and shoot 63 and have the others unable to touch him. "So the good news is 10 birdies in a major is pretty good".