Clutch Koepka a major force

Clutch Koepka a major force

Just 11 months since the 14-time major champion admitted he "didn't know what the future holds" amid troublesome recovery from a fourth back surgery, Woods has made meaningful challenges for the Open and US PGA.

At 12 under, two-time US Open victor Brooks Koepka (66) will take a two-shot lead into the final round over Australian Adam Scott (65) - with the pair to comprise the final group.

Aug 11, 2018; Saint Louis, MO, USA; Brooks Koepka lines up a putt on the 15th green during the third round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Bellerive Country Club.

The big-hitting American fired a four-under-par 66 at Missouri's Bellerive Country Club to earn a 16-under total and a two-shot victory from 14-time major victor Tiger Woods (64), with Australian Adam Scott (67) third at 13 under.

A 12-under 198 total still left Koepka within sight of his third major title in 14 months, but the two-times U.S. Open champion's grip on the Wanamaker Trophy had loosened.

Woods missed most of past year so his charge up the list just behind those two was impressive given home much less time he had to earn points, but it also made it all or nothing in terms of qualifying despite his impressive effort.

Scott hung around by making big putts, just like he hoped, and was tied for the lead until Koepka's birdies.

Now he has contended at two major championships, posted five top-10 finishes and moved back among the top 30 in the world.

Also at stake: It is the last day to qualify for the U.S. Ryder Cup team. I mean, he becomes a contender.

"I knew what I was up against", Koepka said later, "and Scotty played unbelievably well".

Woods did not directly answer a question as to whether he had any expectations at the start of the year of contending in back-to-back majors. "It was a bit of a struggle with my game".

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"The energy in the crowd, that was as big a crowd as I've seen and to play in front of, and he just kind of ho-hummed a 64 there". When Tiger started making his little run, and then Scotty (Adam Scott) made his run, it got quite loud.

In nearly 40 years as a sportswriter, I can't recall any organization doing as through a job supplying information as the PGA does for the fourth major. He finished at 266, beating by three shots his best 72-hole score in a major.

"Could've been a little closer", Woods said.

"Three majors at 28 - it's a cool feeling", Koepka said. It was a golf course in which I couldn't sit still and make pars and be OK with it.

Thomas has received his due plaudits for his accomplishments in the last two years - shooting 59 in Hawaii, 63 at Erin Hills, winning eight times, taking the FedExCup, and collecting a Player of the Year Award.

"Really confident going into tomorrow with the way I fought the last eight holes", he said.

He shook off a par (that felt like a bogey) at 17 with that birdie at 18.

This is his first PGA since 2015, when he shot 75-73 and missed the cut.

Just before coming to Bellerive, Kern shot 14 under to win the Texas State Open.

"It has been a very hard week", Scott said.

For the third round in succession Woods looked set to bogey the hard par-four 10th hole, which plays as a par five for the members, when he could only hack out from heavy rough to the right of the fairway. Starting four back and then having a putt to take the lead on No. 9, I couldn't have really drawn it up any better.

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