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Big names adorned the scoreboard at Bellerive Country Club in St Louis at the conclusion of Saturday’s third round of the PGA Championshipand Sunday’s 18-hole finale sets up to be one of the most memorable rounds of the year.
Brooks Koepka threatened to run away with a big lead throughout the third round, as he had a five-stroke advantage in the middle of the back nine. However, he bogeyed the 14th and 15th holes, breathing life into the field, and his lead diminished to two strokes after 54 holes.
The advantage was down to one stroke at one point, but Koepka birdied the 17th hole to regain a bit of his lost momentum. Koepka followed up his second-round score of 63 with a four-under round of 66.
Koepka is 12 under par, two strokes better than Adam Scott, who fired a five-under 65 to move into serious contention.
“I will be sticking to my routine,” Koepka told the Golf Channel after his round. “I’m very disciplined and I just have to keep doing what I’m doing. You have to find the fairways on this course, and I missed a couple on the back nine, but I did play well.”
Koepka and Scott will play in the final pairing of Sunday’s championship round in the final major championship of the year, and they will tee off at 1:55 p.m. ET. Rickie Fowler is in a third place tie at nine-under after shooting a one-under 69 on moving day, and he is tied with Jon Rahm and Gary Woodland. Fowler and Rahm are paired together, and they will tee off at 1:45 p.m.
Tiger Tracker @GCTigerTracker
And that’s it for now. We’ll see how far back he ends up as this day comes to a close but it’s hard not to be disappointed he didn’t squeeze another couple birdies out of that round.
Tiger Woods is a huge factor, as he finished the rain-delayed second round Saturday morning with a 66 and he matched that score in the scheduled third round. However, the third round finished in disappointing fashion for Woods, as he was four-under through eight holes, but he could not record a birdie on any of his final 10 holes.
That was especially disappointing on the par-5 17th hole when he reached the green in two and had a strong chance to record an eagle. However, he hammered that putt four-plus feet past the hole and he was unable to convert his birdie putt.
Woods missed seven birdie and eagle putts of 20 feet or less on the final seven holes, per golf analyst Justin Ray of the Golf Channel.
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Here comes Tiger…
Woods is -8 heading into the back-9 and is 2 shots off the lead
He made 5 birdies on the front-9, his most thru 9 at a major since the 2011 Masters (4th round) https://t.co/Af0C6lD4qZ
Woods was happy with the way he hit the ball throughout the second and third rounds, but he was disappointed that he could not gain any more ground on the back nine. Woods is eight under par heading into the final round.
“I hit the ball well throughout the round,” Woods told CBS interviewer Amanda Balionis, “but nothing would drop. I made a mistake on the eagle putt because I hit it too hard and I should not have done that. However, I am in a good position for Sunday.”
Woods, Justin Thomas, Jason Day. Stewart Cink, Shane Lowry an Charl Schwartzel will start the final round with scores of eight-under. Woods and Woodland will be paired together for the final round, and they will tee off at 1:35 p.m.
Tee times for PGA Championship Leaders (All times ET)
12:55 p.m.: Francesco Molinari, Kevin Kisner
1:05 p.m.: Charl Schwartzel, Julian Suri
1:15 p.m: Justin Thomas, Shane Lowry
1:25 p.m.: Stewart Cink, Jason Day
1:35 p.m.: Gary Woodland, Tiger Woods
1:45 p.m.: Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler
1:55 p.m.: Brooks Koepka, Adam Scott.
Here’s the tee times for the full field.
Rahm fired a four under par 66, and he saw quite sharp on the back nine when he was three-under par. Rahm told Balionis after the round that he hopes to make a few key putts in Sunday’s round, and that would give him a chance to challenge the leaders.
TNT will start the broadcast of the final round at 11 a.m. ET, and CBS will take over at 2 p.m.
Golf Digest @GolfDigest
Adam Scott (-10) has jumped into solo second place at the PGA Championship: https://t.co/l7QrO6wHY5 https://t.co/DCnhbyvFYA
Woods has been on fire when playing the front nine at Bellerive but he has struggled on the back nine. He is 10 under par through the opening holes, but just two over on the closing portion of the course. If he can shoot four-under 31 or a five-under 30 on the front nine, he could put incredible pressure on Koepka and Scott, and that would put the full field on notice.
Woods has been playing sensationally with his irons, and if he can continue with that trend, he should have a chance.
However, Koepka is something special. He has won the U.S. Open in back-to-back years and he is a powerful man who can outdrive the competition on nearly every hole. He has been immune to the pressure in the last two years and he projects confidence. Koepka has shown he will not be intimidated by the moment.
Scott has perhaps the most picture-perfect swing in the sport. He is in contention here because his iron-play is sharp and his putting is much better than usual. However, it’s difficult to see Scott doing well enough with the flat stick in a championship round to win.
Look for Woods to surge on Sunday and Thomas to join him on the back nine. However, when it comes to winning time, Koepka has proved that he can rise to the occasion and he will do it again here.