LIV Golf member Brooks Koepka will be looking to win his fourth PGA Championship when he tees it up at Valhalla next week

Koepka wins PGA Championship to banish Masters ‘choke’

Brooks Koepka took the very first opportunity to erase at least some of the memories of his final round failure at last month’s Masters Tournament when winning his third PGA Championship and taking his career tally of major victories to five with a dominant performance at Oak Hill in New York.

Koepka, who led by two shots going into the final round at Augusta, only lose out to Jon Rahm after a closing 75, put that disappointment – which he described himself as a ‘choke’ – behind him with a nerveless display in the season’s second major, shooting a final round 67 to finish on nine under for the week, two shots ahead of runner’s up Viktor Hovland and Scottie Scheffler.

It is the third time in five years that Koepka has played a major championship in the state of New York and come out on top, following wins at the US Open at Shinneock Hills in 2018 and the PGA in Bethpage in 2019. He joins greats of the game Seve Ballesteros, Peter Thomson, Byron Nelson, John Henry Taylor and James Braid as a five-time major winner.

Koepka now has five majors to his name

The 33-year-old American was booed by sections of the fans on the first tee on Saturday because of his involvement with LIV Golf, but he received a much warmer reception on the 18th green on Sunday, with the normally stony-faced Floridian finally allowing himself to break into a smile when he holed the winning putt in front of the packed galleries.

Koepka, who underwent major knee surgery just two years ago, has bounced back to full fitness this year, winning a LIV Golf tournament in Florida at the beginning of April, prior to his strong showing at Augusta. “This is incredible,” he said after lifting the Wanamaker Trophy for third time in his career. “I look back at where we were two years ago, this is probably the sweetest one of them all, because of all the hard work that went into getting here. This one is definitely special.”

Asked what he thought it would mean to LIV Golf, for whom this was the Saudi-backed tour’s first major champion, Koepka said: “I definitely think it helps LIV, but I’m more interested in myself right now to be honest. It’s a huge thing for LIV but at the same time, I’m here competing as an individual. All it does, I guess, is it validates it for myself and maybe anyone who doubted me after what happened at Augusta, is that I’m back, I’m here and I want to win more majors.”

Viktor Hovland’s hopes of victory went when his second shot on the 16th hole plugged into face of the bunker

Starting the final round with a one-shot lead over Hovland, Koepka stamped his authority on proceedings when reeling off three birdies in the first four holes to open up a four-shot lead, before his Norwegian playing partner responded. But the American saw his lead cut to a single shot after finding the water off the tee on the challenging sixth hole, while both he and Hovland dropped shots at the seventh.

Both players then became engaged in a superb duel that only faded on the 16th hole when Hovland found a fairway bunker off the tee and then fired his 9-iron approach into the face of the same bunker. Although he was given a free drop, he could only make double bogey from there and his race was run.

At that stage, Scheffler, who made a late charge with four birdies on the back nine, looked set to finish outright second, but Hovland rolled in a birdie putt on the last to join the American on seven under. It left Koepka, who had bogeyed the 17th, two putts from 15 feet to conclude an impressive victory.

Further down the leaderboard, Kurt Kitayama, Bryson DeChambeau and Australia’s Cam Davis shared fourth at three under, while Rory McIlroy’s frustratingly inconsistent form continued with Northern Irishman firing a closing 69 that left him on tied seventh of two under. The four-time major champion bagged an impressive 15 birdies over the four rounds, but 13 bogeys, many from good positions, proved very costly.

The PGA Championship is widely known for offering 20 places in the field for club PGA Professionals, several of whom have enjoyed brief moments in the media spotlight, but this year saw Michael Block, a 46-year-old teaching professional from Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in California, win over the crowd with an impressive display that saw him not only make the cut, but also score a hole-in-one on Sunday, and finish tied 15th after three rounds of 70 and a closing 71. Needing to par the last hole to receive an invitation to next year’s championship, he got up and down from 50 yards to receive a standing ovation from the galleries that was every bit as loud as that which was afforded to the winner.

For all the final scores from PGA Championship, click here.

Brooks Koepka’s winning gear
Driver: Srixon ZX5 LS Mk II (10.5°)
Fairway Wood: TaylorMade M2 Tour HL (16.5°)
Irons: Nike Vapor Pro (3), Srixon ZX7 Mk II Irons (4-9)
Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore (46°, 52°, 56°, 60°)
Putter: Scotty Cameron Teryllium