Brooks Koepka feeling the pressure as he closes in on PGA title

Brooks Koepka greets spectators

Brooks Koepka is on the cusp of some elite company at the PGA Championship - in the record book, not on the leaderboard. The satisfaction was more than he imagined.

Koepka's stern demeanour looked unshakeable as he set the lowest 36-hole score in majors to take a seven-shot lead, a margin which remained after the third round when he shot a level-par 70 because his rivals were unable to mount a serious challenge.

Questions will remain about Johnson's ability to add to his solitary major, given the back nine collapse from Koepka.

The 47-year-old Labritz, who was playing in his sixth PGA Championship, has won three New York State Opens on the Black Course (2008, 2011 and 2016). "What do you expect when you're half-choking it away?"

McIlroy three-putted for bogey at the 14th and had to settle for a par at the next after nearly holing his approach into the par-four, with the 30-year-old unable to find another birdie along the closing stretch. He closed with a 4-over 74 for a two-shot victory and joined Woods as the only back-to-back winners of the PGA Championship since it went to stroke play in 1958. As detailed in the In-Play Blog, I layed him back after the first round to cover my stakes and I layed him again in-running last night at [1.04]. His missed par putt from 4ft at the penultimate hole did not matter. I know how it goes.

Koepka isn't there yet, but it's hardly an unreasonable assumption he will win more and, along with Woods and Johnson, will head a formidable USA team at Royal Melbourne.

This one should have been.

The American, who had held a seven-stroke lead at the start of the final round, nearly lost control of the title when he made four successive bogeys from the 11th hole before staving off Dustin Johnson for a two-stroke victory at Bethpage Black.

His fledgling days overseas may also have helped Koepka develop greater adaptability as a golfer, playing more courses where accuracy is at a premium and not just the parkland slug-fests of the USA (although he is quite good on those). "That was a stressful round of golf", Koepka told CBS after his victory. "I'm glad to have this [Wanamaker Trophy] back in my hands".

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The most important putt for Koepka was just under 5 feet for par on the 11th, which kept him from three straight bogeys.

And then it all changed in a NY minute. Then Koepka overshot the par-3 14th and failed to get up and down for par. It was down to a one shot lead and from there you just have to hit good golf shots. "It's swirling and then it blows real hard and stops".

"I thought it was pretty weird how they were telling Brooks to choke", Varner said. "As long as I put it in the fairway, I was going to be all right". Koepka finished at 8-under 272, two shots better than Johnson.

But he rallied and became the first man to defend both the US Open and the PGA Championship and moved to world No. 1. He's won the U.S. Open twice. The U.S. Open will be held June 13-16 at Pebble Beach. Scottish migrant, Willie Anderson, having won the title for a first time in 1901, went on to win it another three times between 1903 and 1905.

Like Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminator, the indomitable Koepka has emerged from the firestorm of hot young pros trying to be The Next One.

Koepka was locked in heading into today's final round at the PGA Championship, though. The champion's shell-shocked face when walking from the 14th green didn't suggest he had been of a mind to use every one of them.

"I had about 30 seconds left", Varner said of the search. That's two back-to-backs, four majors in eight tries, and you know what? He now has runner-up finishes in all four of the majors, the wrong kind of career Grand Slam. All I can do is make him happy. "That's all you can ask for".

Koepka supplied one of the shots of the tournament when 157 yards from the 10th hole. He lost the brutal Long Island crowd, which began chanting "DJ!" for Dustin Johnson as Koepka was on his way to a fourth straight bogey.

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