Brooks Koepka Holds on, Wins PGA at Bethpage Black PDF Print E-mail



Brooks Koepka hoists the Wannamaker trophy again after winning the 101st PGA Championship.

Farmingdale, New York - What seemed like a foregone conclusion at the start

of the final day at Bethpage Black, turned into anything but that as the leaders

dug into the meat of the back nine at the 101st PGA Championship. Entering

Sunday with a 7 shot lead, Brooks Koepka kept command of the Championship

until a series of bogeys on the back nine and a surging Dustin Johnson finally

made for some serious drama in Long Island. When the lead was whittled down

to one after Johnson made birdie on the brutish fifteenth, the NY crowd began

to chant, "DJ, DJ!".


Koepka heard the noise, and knew things were tightening up. "Today was definitely

the most satisfying out of all of them for how stressful that round was - how stressful

D.J made that," Koepka said. "I know for a fact that was the most excited I've ever

been in my life there on 18."


After back to back bogeys on 16 and 17 for Johnson, the door was open for Koepka

to finish it off holding a two stroke cushion. A pulled drive on the 18th created a

bit of drama, but when Koepka chose to punch out and wedge onto the green from

68 yards, he needed only two putts from 6 feet for the victory. When he rolled in

the par for a two stroke victory, he had a rare showing of emotion - throwing a

punch into the air and letting out a triumphant rebel yell. His final round 74 showed

just how tough the Black Course at Bethpage can be, but more importantly that he

can take a punch and survive. Koepka finished at 8 under par (272 total) after rounds

of 63-65-68-74 (Dustin Johnson finished solo 2nd at -6).


In the end, it was a an impressive wire to wire dominant performance (despite the

trials and tribulations of the last half dozen holes), that clearly sets Koepka a notch

above the rest in major championships as we move towards the U.S Open at Pebble.

With back to back wins at both the U.S Open and PGA Championship, Koepka is in

the rarefied air of becoming the only player to ever hold both titles at the same time

in consecutive years. His four major championships in the last 23 months equals the

career totals of Rory McIlroy and Raymond Floyd.


Brooks Koepka has regained the OWGR No.1 player in the world and earned $1.98

million for winning the PGA Championship.















Who will win the 101st PGA at Bethpage Black? PDF Print E-mail


As I sit here in the media center at Bethpage State Park on the eve of

round 1 of the second major championship, the big question is - Who

will win on the Black Course.


I took this question with me to the course early this morning. It's a

layout that I know pretty well (having played it more than half a dozen

times), the latest journey was a birdie-less 75 while in town for the 2016

PGA at Baltusrol. By far my best showing on Tillinghast's masterpiece

known as the "People's Country Club". I bring up my experiences here

only as a point of knowledge on the place, and that every once in a while,

I know how to play a bit. More importantly, I wanted to see if anything

had changed on the Black since my last visit. Not much has, it's just an old

fashioned grind it out golf course. It's not a fun track, it's not one that is

all that thought provoking (in terms of strategy). With zero OB, and just one

water hazard (pond that fronts the par 3 eighth), it's not a design that will

cost you numerous penalty strokes, it just simply tests your ball striking.

The green complexes are not tricky, they're flatish with subtle breaks (except

for the severely uphill par 4 fifteenth). Are you starting to get a picture now

of who will contend? If not, then here's a bit more food for thought . . .


The Black will be contested at just under 7500 yards and a par of 70. Meaning

just two par 5's, The fourth and the thirteenth. Add five straight days of rain

(before today) and chilly temps, and you're talking about a track that will play

more like 7700-7800 yards. The forecast is for more chilly temps with the

possibility of more rain, so the likelihood of the ball traveling far in the air or

getting any significant roll is nil. When I walked all 18 earlier today (it took

me 2.5 hours to walk the course without hitting a single shot), my impressions

were: a bomber who's striking it well (and straight off the tee) will be able to

keep his total score around even par. A medium length hitter will need for

everything to go his way, and a short hitter has ZERO chance.


So let's look at the top 20 Official World Golf Rankings.

1. Dustin Johnson

2. Justin Rose

3. Brooks Koepka

4. Rory McIlroy

5. Justin Thomas (Out w/injury)

6. Tiger Woods

7. Francesco Molinari

8. Bryson DeChambeau

9. Xander Schauffele

10. Rickie Fowler

11: Jon Rahm

12: Paul Casey

13: Matt Kuchar

14: Jason Day

15: Tony Finau

16: Tommy Fleetwood

17: Patrick Cantlay

18: Bubba Watson

19: Webb Simpson

20:Patrick Reed






Out of those 20, roughly half can be considered long hitters (J.Thomas

injured): DJ, Koepka, Rory, Tiger, Rahm, Day, Finau, Fleetwood and Bubba.


Players like Xander, Bryson, Casey, Cantlay, Fowler and Reed certainly

are plenty long enough. So the only players to eliminate from a length

standpoint is Kuchar and Webb Simpson. Bubba plays big curves on every

shot, that doesn't match with long wet unplayable rough. Bubba out.


In the OWGR 21-50 rankings a few players standout - Louie Oosthuizen,

Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama, Henrik Stenson, J.B

Holmes and Lucas Bjerregaard. Jordan Spieth at no.39 is interesting, but

I'm just not buying.


In the pure wildcard category Thorbjorn Olesen, Keith Mitchell and 2009

U.S Open Champion at Bethpage - Lucas Glover are all intriguing enough

to give them a fighting chance. But Bethpage Black ultimately comes down

to supreme ball striking prowess, and specifically greens in regulation. Only

Tiger, Rory and Koepka are ranked in the top 15 in the overall GIR stat - with

Tiger leading the tour at 75.56%. Since there won't be many wedges into

the greens here this week, lets delve in a bit deeper with GIR % from 150-

175 yards.


Only Paul Casey and Rory from the OWGR top 20 rankings are near the top

of this key stat with Casey 2nd at 76.09 percent. McIlroy comes in 74.23 in

7th. in the 175-200 yard stat. Tiger leads at 80% with McIlroy 5th, Rose 7th

and Koepka 8th at 67.35%.


In the 200+ yard GIR stat, Henrik Stenson leads with Koepka 5th, Lucas

Bjerregaard 6th and McIlroy again in top 10 (9th) at 57.81%. DJ plays

the longer approaches well also, coming in 11th at 56.86%.


The one constant here is Rory McIlroy, also the best driver of the golf ball

who plays his best in wet soft conditions on greens that aren't treacherous.

So there you have it, DJ, Tiger, Rose and Koepka should contend, but the

Ulsterman named Rory has the best chance to walk off with the Wannamaker.



Kang Wins AT&T Byron Nelson PDF Print E-mail


Sung Kang celebrates after winning at Trinity Forest.


Dallas, Texas - South Korea's Sung Kang notched his first career victory

on the PGA Tour after firing a final round 67 to finish at 23 under par at

the AT&T Byron Nelson. Kang's 261 total gave him a two-stroke victory

over Scott Piercy and Matt Every.


It was the 159th appearance on the PGA Tour for the 31 year old Kang,

who became the ninth first-time winner on tour this season. Kang hung

tough all day, and down the stretch on Sunday he birdied holes 14 thru

16 to gain a 3 shot cushion.


Rain throughout the week caused havoc with the tee time schedules, with

some players needing to complete round 3 early on Sunday. Matt Every

was one of those that paid the price. He made four bogeys to finish off his

third round, which gave Kang a 3 shot advantage to start the final round.


Kang's 65 -61 start enabled the South Korean to break the 36 hole scoring

record (16 under par - 126) at the AT&T Byron Nelson. With the win, Kang

moved up 50 spots in the Fedex Cup standings from 71st to 21st, and to 13th

in the President's Cup International Team Standings.


Brooks Koepka, defending champion at Bethpage Black this week for 101st

PGA Championship fired rounds of 65-66-68-65 to finish fourth.












Max Homa Breaks Through - Wins Wells Fargo PDF Print E-mail


Max Homa celebrates after winning at Quail Hollow

Charlotte, N.C - Max Homa rose above the stars on the leaderboard at

the Wells Fargo Championship to capture his first PGA Tour title. The

leaderboard at Quail Hollow included what is likely to be a third of the

2020 European Ryder Cup squad - Rory, Sergio, and Englishmen Justin

Rose and Paul Casey (Rickie Fowler was also in contention).

Homa's final round 4 under par 67 (15 under par total - 269) eclipsed

Joel Dahmen by 3 strokes. For quite sometime the 2013 NCAA Champion

seemed like a "can't miss" prospect when he came out of Cal. Max Homa

struggled to find success on the tour early on but did manage to win in 2014

and 2016 on the Tour. In 2017 on the PGA Tour, he missed 15 of 17

cuts and made a paltry $18k. A strong showing at the 2018 finals

(T15) got him back to the PGA Tour. At the start of this season, Homa

missed 6 straight cuts, with his best finish being a T10 at Pebble Beach. So

nobody saw this week coming, but using his mantra of just being "relentless",

Homa worked hard on the process to change things around.

"Yeah, it was bad, so there's obviously a lot of scar tissue," Homa said. "But finally,

honestly since I've been driving it better, since probably that Pebble tournament

I played well, that scar tissue has gone away. I feel like me again, I've played

with a lot of players that are doing pretty well out here, and I used to hang

around them a little bit, so I know I'm good at this. It's just kind of been a

steady climb of getting my game back and also the confidence and the

comfortability out here. That was the hardest part, and I'm actually starting

to feel that a little bit."


With the win, Homa moved up a whopping 133 spots in the Fedex Cup points

standings - from 138th to 35th.


Justin Rose finished solo third at -11 after a final round 68. Sergio Garcia,

Rickie Fowler, Paul Casey and Jason Dufner all finished T4 at 9 under par.















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