The Latest: Koepka (par, 70) still 7 in front at PGA
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (AP) — The Latest on the PGA Championship on Saturday (all times local):
Brooks Koepka will take a seven-stroke lead into the final round of the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black.
After flirting with an even lower score on the front nine, Koepka posted an even-par 70 in the third round on Saturday. He was 12 under for the tournament, with 2016 U.S. Open winner Dustin Johnson among those in second place at 5 under.
Tied with Johnson are Harold Varner III, Luke List and Jazz Janewattananond.
Koepka is seeking his fourth major title in two years. He is the defending PGA champion, and he also won back-to-back U.S. Opens.
Brooks Koepka maintained his seven-stroke lead midway through the third round of the PGA Championship.
The defending champion shot a 1-under 34, with birdies on Nos. 2 and 5. He missed a 30-inch putt on the ninth hole for only his third bogey of the tournament; he had two on Friday.
Regardless, at 13-under par he was comfortably ahead of Dustin Johnson, who was 2 under for the day and tied with Jazz Janewattananond of Thailand at 6 under.
Jordan Spieth, in the final pairing with Koepka, struggled to a 38, including a double bogey on the 9th, and was at 2 under.
Phil Mickelson struggled mightily on Bethpage Black in the third round of the PGA Championship, finishing a 76 in which had only six pars.
Starting the day at even par, Mickelson, the 2005 PGA winner, began his roller-coaster round by going par, birdie, bogey, birdie, bogey, bogey. He strung together three pars to finish the front nine in 36, just 1 over.
The back side looked gruesome, though. Mickelson bogeyed the 10th, 11th and 12th holes, squeezed in a par at the par-5 13th, then went back to over-par golf with two more bogeys.
Lefty parred the 18th for a 6-over round.
Mickelson last won a major at the 2013 British Open.
There are some big names atop the leaderboard at the PGA Championship.
There’s defending champion Brooks Koepka at 14 under through his first five holes on Saturday. And 2016 U.S. Open winner Dustin Johnson, who was in second at 6 under through six holes in the third round.
And the biggest name of all — or at least the longest — Jazz Janewattananond.
The 23-year-old veteran of the Asian and European tours made the turn at 3 under in the third round at Bethpage Black. Then he birdied No. 10 to move into a tie for second.
Tied at 5 under were Matt Wallace (1 under for the day through seven holes) and Adam Scott (even par through five).
Janewattananond won the Singapore Open in January to get into the world top 100 and qualify for the PGA and the British Open. He missed the cut at last year’s British Open.
Brooks Koepka birdied his opening hole in each of the first two rounds of the PGA Championship en route to building a record 7-stroke lead.
He didn’t manage that feat in the third round, though he came close.
Koepka, the defending champion, drove into the fairway at No. 1 and put his approach shot just under 7 feet from the pin. He missed that try, however and settled for a par.
The 1st was playing relatively easy, yielding eight birdies among the midday starters.
Rory McIlroy missed a hole-in-one by 21 inches on the 225-yard 8th hole at Bethpage Black in the PGA Championship.
The 2012 and ’14 champion eagled the 4th hole and tapped in for a birdie on No. 8 to drop to 3 under for the round. He had two bogeys on the back nine and finished with a 69, leaving him at 2 over for the tournament.
“It’s the best I hit it all week for sure,” he said. “I played well. I didn’t convert as many chances as I would have liked, but it was an improvement over the last couple days.”
McIlroy was 14 strokes behind leader Brooks Koepka, who had just teed off.
Shane Lowry has moved out of the cellar at the PGA Championship with a 68 in the third round.
The 2016 U.S. Open runner-up was one of the first players to tee off on Saturday morning, just making the 36-hole cut at 4-over par. He is still 14 strokes behind runaway leader Brooks Koepka, but Lowry went 2 under and is in the clubhouse at 2 over for the tournament.
Adam Long and Rory McIlroy were also 2 under on the day and still out on the course for the third round. McIlroy had an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole.
J.T. Poston is making the best of an unexpected chance to play in the PGA Championship.
The 25-year-old from St. Simons Island, Georgia, didn’t find out until Tuesday morning he got into the field as an alternate after Vijay Singh withdrew because of a back injury.
Poston took a flight from Jacksonville, Florida, that day. He played nine holes at Bethpage Black that afternoon and another nine on Wednesday to learn the course. The hardest thing was to find a room, and he barely did.
After an opening-round 77, Poston made the cut by shooting 10 shots better on Friday. He added a third-round 71 to finish at 5 over.
“We’ve been scrambling a little bit,” said Poston, who has two top-10 finishes this year.
This is his second major. He played in the U.S. Open in 2017 and missed the cut.
Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth have a recent history playing together in a major, but not a long one.
They were in the same group for the opening two rounds of the Masters last month, and at the 2017 PGA Championship, with Koepka finishing each of those four rounds higher on the leaderboard.
They are in the final group at the PGA Championship, with Koepka seven shots ahead at 12-under par.
Oddly enough, it was more than six years ago when Koepka and Spieth were in the second stage of Q-school needing to advance to earn at least limited status on one of the PGA Tour circuits. They shot the same score on the same course and missed out by three shots.
That’s when they went their different ways.
Spieth received a few sponsor exemptions, earned PGA Tour status within three months and won the John Deere Classic in 2013. Koepka went overseas to play the Challenge Tour, winning four times but taking two years to get a PGA Tour card.
Brooks Koepka has turned a public golf course into his private domain at the PGA Championship.
Along with setting the 36-hole scoring record in major championships, Koepka has opened a seven-shot lead over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott going into the third round at Bethpage Black.
He has made only two bogeys all week. Koepka has been alone in the lead since his 12-foot birdie putt on his 12th hole of the opening round.
Among those playing early Saturday in the third round was Rory McIlroy, who had to rally to make the cut. McIlroy made eagle on the par-5 fourth hole.
Koepka was in the final group with Spieth, who hasn’t been in the last group at any tournament since the final round of the British Open last summer.