Bethpage (USA) – Brooks Koepka of the United States will enter the fourth and final round of the PGA Championship on Sunday with a comfortable seven-run lead and, barring a dramatic turnaround, should clinch his fourth Grand Slam title in less than two years.
Koepka, winner of the event in 2018, returned a 70 (by) card at the end of the third round on Saturday, with three birdies and as many bogeys.
With a score of 198 (-12), he is seven points ahead of his first pursuers, a group of four players in which is the world No.1 Dustin Johnson (205, -5).
The other favorites, like his compatriot Jordan Spieth, second at the start of the day, and the Englishman Justin Rose, dropped to the rankings, respectively in 8th place (207, -3) and 16th (210, by).
"I'm pretty happy with my day, I hit the ball well, I did a lot of situations sometimes complicated, it was a good day"said Koepka.
"I'm going to play this fourth round and say it's a golf day like any other. I have to start strong, it is possible to achieve interesting things on the first five-six holes"he explained.
"If I'm still seven strokes ahead of hole N.12, I'll be in a good position for the final victory", said the Floridian, known for his frequent attendance of gyms.
– Lorenzo-Vera recedes –
He still offered a record: after that of the course Thursday (63, -7) and that of the best score in Grand Slam after two rounds (128, -12), he became the golfer who will tackle a final round of a test of the PGA circuit with the widest advance.
At 29, the N.3 world is becoming the new benchmark of the circuit: the one who was voted best player of the 2018 season has the distinction of having won more titles of the Grand Slam (3, US Open 2017 and 2018, 2018 PGA Championship) than PGA tournaments (2).
In the event of success, he may become the first player in history to be double-handed at the same time as two Grand Slam tournaments.
"He clearly plays at a different level than all of us in the Grand Slam tournaments, it's impressive to see", acknowledged Northern Ireland Rory McIlroy, who lost all hope with his 26th place, to 14 shots of Koepka (212, +2).
In the absence of one of the favorites, the American Tiger Woods, eliminated after the second round Friday, a month after his triumph at the Augusta Masters, will require "to do something special to beat Brooks", acknowledged Johnson.
"But it's feasible, especially on such a course that does not forgive anything"said the American, one of the few to believe in his chances against the phenomenon Koepka.
Mike Lorenzo-Vera of France entered the ranks. The surprise of the first round (4th) is now 48th with a total of 214 (+4), which remains his best result in Grand Slam.