Friday, 19 October, 2018

PGA Championship: Woods chases leader Koepka

Brooks Koepka PGA Championship 2018 Brooks Koepka leads the way
Guillermo Jimenez | 12 August, 2018, 15:53

But Koepka proved as hard as the course was soft.

"Twenty-nine holes, it's not necessarily the physical, it's this mentally grinding that hard for 29 holes in this heat. So, yeah, special day for me today".

Adam Scott and Tiger Woods are climbing up the leaderboard as the cream rises to the top midway through the third round at the US PGA Championship in Missouri. Superficially, the rock-chinned, burly-chested Koepka looks like an exercise in pure bashing power golf, of muscle meeting technology. But he demands consideration as a better, more complete and more delicate player than that.

Scott had continued to struggle this year, again missing the cut when the U.S. Open was played at Shinnecock Hills.

Adam Scott
PGA Championship 2018 Adam Scott is just shots off the lead

As of now, just going off the broadcast, it feels more like a mid-level PGA Tour event than the 100th edition of one of golf's most important, tradition and history-rich championships.

"I mean, it would be more-than-twice the thrill for me", he said, "but no matter who wins tomorrow, if that person has met Jarrod, they will have felt something with him passing this week".

A crowd of reporters laughed at Koepka's retelling, but it's clear this is one golfer who doesn't often find real or imagined slights amusing. He struck it pure from 240 yards on the 17th hole and started strutting down the fairway, watching the ball land 20 feet from the pin - one good putt away from an eagle that would have vaulted him into second place.

"They're so nice to hit some wedges off of", he said.

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Scott's countryman Jason Day was flirting with a leaderboard charge on moving day, snaring two birdies on his front nine, before a dropped shot at the 10th and and a birdie at the 13th have left him at seven under.

The 2-8 PM Eastern window is a limited one, more in line with what the Masters offers on Thursday and Friday, and the PGA doesn't have the Masters' ability to artificially suppress supply in hopes of increasing demand.

A bogey at five was followed by a run of three straight birdies, each ratcheting up the excitement. With a front pin on the seventh hole, he went some 25 feet beyond the flag and holed the putt, and then got up-and-down from a bunker on par-5 eighth. No one made more in one stretch than Woods, who electrified the gallery with a 31 on the front to start his third round. American Gary Woodland was leading the field with a daunting clubhouse total of -10 but there were birdies to be had. The crowds crooned to him, imploring him to keep it going.

He wound up shooting 73 at Carnoustie and was never in contention on the back nine.

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Despite being eight shots back and tied 28th the Texan was not throwing in the towel.

"It's plugging; we're able to hold 4-irons, 5-irons, whatever we want, at the flags", he said. But there's no question what Woods will need to do. "This golf course is stacked right now and everyone is bunched", Woods said.

"It can show its teeth if you're not driving it well", Thomas said. 4 under on the round and the tournament, with two fairly short misses to make bogey in there too.

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