Koepka reboots to win PGA, back to World No.1 after 4th major title - GulfToday

Koepka reboots to win PGA, back to World No.1 after 4th major title


Brooks Koepka poses with girlfriend Jena Sims and the Wanamaker Trophy after the trophy presentation of the 2019 PGA Championship on Sunday. Agence France-Presse

Brooks Koepka took inspiration from the crowd turning on him as he nearly “choked away” the PGA Championship and battled through to recover for the most satisfying victory of his career.

Koepka shook off four back-nine bogeys in a row to win his fourth major title Sunday at Bethpage Black taking a two-stroke victory over fast-closing Dustin Johnson.

With this win, Koepka returned to the top of the world rankings. The 29-year-old American has now won four major titles in his last eight starts and is the first man to ever hold back-to-back titles in two majors at the same time, ahead of his tilt at a third successive US Open crown next month.

He edged ahead of previous world number one Dustin Johnson at the summit, after his compatriot failed to chase him down in New York on Sunday, finishing two strokes adrift, having been seven behind at the start of the final round.

It will be Koepka’s ninth week as the world’s top-ranked player.

“This is definitely the most satisfying of all the ones I’ve won,” Koepka said.

“Today was definitely the most satisfying for how stressful that round was, how stressful DJ made that. This was, by far, the most stressful.”

Koepka began the final round with a PGA record seven-stroke lead and saw it shrink to a single shot.

No man has led a major by so much so late and lost. But Koepka nearly did after bogeys on holes 11 through 14.

“I don’t want to say it’s a panic, but it’s definitely a shock when you make a couple,” Koepka said.

“I wasn’t nervous. I was just in shock of what was going on -- 13 was a bit disappointing and 14 was just a bit of a shock to go four in a row.

“I can’t tell you the last time I’ve made four bogeys in a row. I don’t know if I ever have. But just had to reset. I think everybody chanting, ‘DJ’ kind of helped that.”

New York fans are notorious for turning on favorites when they falter and Koepka proved no exception, fans calling out ‘DJ’ to add tension to every blunder. What he didn’t anticipate is how the chants would give him something to focus upon, shake the shock and the bogeys and reboot.

“I think it actually helped. It was at a perfect time because I was just thinking, ‘OK, all right. I’ve got everybody against me. Let’s go.’ It helped me refocus and hit a good one down 15. That was probably the best thing that could have happened. It was very stressful, the last hour and a half of that round. “You’ve got to right the ship eventually and try to stay mentally strong.”

Koepka parred 15 and 16 while Johnson was making bogeys at 16 and the par-3 17th. Even when Koepka notched his own bogey at 17, he was two ahead at the 18th tee and overcame finding sand and weeds to sink a six-foot par putt for his second PGA title in a row after winning the past two US Open crowns.

“It has been incredibly quick. It has been so much fun these last two years,” Koepka said.

Koepka defends himself given the difficult course and windy conditions.

“I was playing good. I just made mistakes at the wrong time,” he said.

“I challenge anybody to go play this golf course in 15-20-mph winds and see what they shoot.” Losing never entered his thoughts, Koepka claimed.

“I never thought about failing. I was trying my butt off,” he said.

Agence France-Presse

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