On a challenging Saturday at Bethpage Black, Brooks Koepka shot an even-par round of 70 and will take a seven-shot lead into Sunday’s finale of the 2019 PGA Championship.
The defending champion got his third round off to a good start with birdies on Nos. 2 and 5, but a pair of bogeys at the turn (Nos. 9 and 10) brought him back to even-par. He then offset a birdie on the par-5 13th hole with a bogey on No. 16 to sign for a level-par 70, and a three-day total of 12-under par.
“I struck it better than I did yesterday. I just didn’t putt as well,” said Koepka, who needed 32 putts on Saturday. “I felt like as you saw, I left a couple putts short right in the middle. If I make those and shoot a couple under, I extend the lead.
“But I felt like they were coming off the putter very nicely. You’re also trying not to leave yourself with too many 3- and 4-footers. If you have tap-ins, the way it’s playing today, it’s difficult to make a lot of birdies. If you can par your way around this golf course — today, I thought it was pretty good.”
Four players were tied for second at 5-under par, including Harold Varner III, who will be paired with Koepka in Sunday’s final group. Varner, ranked No. 174 in the world, and in search of his maiden PGA Tour win, shot his second consecutive 67 to get into the marquee pairing.
Jazz Janewattananond (67), Luke List (69), and Dustin Johnson (69) were the others in the T2 group.
Hideki Matsuyama (68) and Matt Wallace (70) were one further back at 4-under par, one clear of Jordan Spieth, who was paired with Koepka on Saturday but produced a 72 to fall back to T8 on 3-under par.
Patrick Cantlay (68), Adam Scott (72), and Xander Schauffele (68) were tied with Spieth at 3-under par.
2019 PGA Championship
Round-3 Leaderboard: The Top-5
Pos-Player-To Par (Rd 2)
1. Brooks Koepka -12 (E)
2. Harold Varner III -5 (-3)
2. Jazz Janewattananond -5 (-3)
2. Luke List -5 (-1)
2. Dustin Johnson -5 (-1)
Video: Brooks on the Brink of History
Brooks Koepka’s Stats
Average thru 54 holes
Driving: 302.83 yards (26th)
Fairways: 28/42, 66.6% (41st)
Greens: 43/54, 79.6% (1st)
Putts/GIR: 25/1.7 (22nd)
Scoring: 17 Birdies, 32 Pars, 5 Bogeys (-12)
Exit Question For Brooks Koepka
You’re playing the kind of golf that Jordan played in 2015; that Rory played in 2014. What can you learn from watching what they did then?
BROOKS KOEPKA: “I mean, I was there for Jordan, so it wasn’t really — I don’t really pay attention. I don’t really — it doesn’t matter what goes on. I’m just trying to do me, and feel like if I can go out and go play good golf, everything’s going to be just fine. I don’t feel any pressure.
“I don’t see any reason why — I mean, I know that they are basically going for the career Grand Slam, but you know, I’m sure — I think in a few years, I’ll be there, too. It’s different for everybody.”