PGA Championship: Brooks Koepka maintains seven shot lead after third round


Brooks Koepka will head in to the final round of the PGA Championship with a seven shot lead 

On a day where Bethpage Black showed its teeth, Brooks Koepka consolidated his position at the top of the leaderboard while the rest of the field failed to make up any ground over the defending champion. 

The World No.3 followed up his record breaking scores over the first 36 holes with a level par 70 that included three birdies and three bogeys to head in to the final round seven shots clear of nearest challengers Dustin Johnson, Luke List, Harold Varner III and Jazz Janewattananond. 

Understandably, Koekpa has no doubts that he'll get the job done to go wire to wire to win major number four, and outlined his strategy for the final round: 'par this place to death'. 

"I feel confident," said Koepka. "I feel good. I feel excited. I'm excited. I was excited just to get to the course today, and then try to build that lead, but didn't happen. It's a tough day. It's not going to be -- it would have been really hard to shoot 4- or 5-under. I don't know if anybody did that today or not, but it was a difficult day, and any time the wind's going to be blowing 15 at Bethpage Black, you're in for a real test.

"I feel confident going into tomorrow. I don't know what the forecast is. But if I can hit a few fairways, there's really a couple key holes out here, you know, you play 7 well, play 10 and 12 well, and then from there, you just hit the center of the greens and try to par this place to death.

"I'm definitely not going to let up; I promise you that. I'm just trying to hit the best possible shot I can at the time. I feel like when I'm over the shot, I'm very confident. I feel good about it, and if I'm not, I'm going to back off."

Koepka began the day seven shots clear of Jordan Spieth, and quickly increased his hold over the field with iron shots to five feet on the seccond and two feet on the fifth to get to 14-under-par. 

His first real test of the day came from a wayward drive on the seventh hole, and while he managed to save an impressive par there, his ball did a horseshoe from just over two feet at the ninth to drop his first shot of the day. 

Another drive in to the rough on the 10th led to a second bogey in a row, but he would get briefly back to 13-under after driving it in to the trees on the par-five 13th and still managing to get up and down from the rough (121 yards away) for birdie. 

A three-putt bogey on the 16th put Koepka back to where he started for the day, but a third round 70 was enough to give him a seven shot lead after 54-holes. 

Playing partner Jordan Spieth, who could have claimed the career grand slam with a win this week, started the day at five-under but struggled as he played his way out of contention with a two-over 72 - the same score as Adam Scott, who failed to follow up the brilliance of his second round. 

Instead, it was Dustin Johnson and a few surprising other names that made a small move up the leaderboard on Saturday. 

DJ briefly narrowed the gap between first and second as he reached seven-under-par at the turn thanks to a three-under-par front nine, but four bogeys and two birdies over his last nine holes left him settling for a one-under 69 to finish on -5. 

Luke List found himself in a similar position at seven-under with just two holes to play, but he missed the green on the par-three 17th and failed to get up and down from the greenside bunker on the 18th to drop back in to a tie for second place. 

Alongside Johnson and List are Harold Varner III, who put together a bogey-free 67 for the joint round of the day, and Jazz Janewattananond, who matched Varner III's 67 thanks to a birdie on his final hole. 

Behind them in tied sixth place are Matt Wallace and Hideki Matsuyama on -4, with Spieth, Scott, Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay making up the rest of the top 10.