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Brooks Koepka
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The Takeaway

Koepka defends PGA in wire-to-wire fashion

by Mo Yoshimoto
Updated On: May 21, 2019, 7:08 am ET

101st PGA Championship

Farmingdale, NY

 

Playing out of the final twosome, overnight leader (by seven) and defending champ Brooks Koepka battled to a 4-over-par 35-39=74 in Sunday's final round at Bethpage State Park's Black Course to wrap on 8-under 272 (63-65-70-74), good for a two-shot, wire-to-wire victory over runner-up Dustin Johnson (69) and his fourth major title in 22 major appearances.

The 29-year-old, a pre-tourney 11/1 outright, bags his fourth major in 23 months and fourth in his last eight tries.

He won the 2017 U.S. Open (Erin Hills, WI); successfully defended it in 2018 (Shinnecock Hills GC, NY); won last year's PGA as the 54-hole leader by two (Bellerive CC, MO); and successfully defends again. The FSU product is the first player EVER to successfully defend titles at both the PGA Championship and the U.S. Open. EVER.

Three players shared 3rd place, six adrift: Jordan Spieth (71); Patrick Cantlay (71); and Englishman Matt Wallace (72).


Final Leaderboard (pre-tourney odds outright):

1- (-8, 272) Brooks Koepka (11/1)

2- (-6, 274) Dustin Johnson (10/1)

3- (-2, 278) Jordan Spieth (40/1)

3- (-2, 278) Patrick Cantlay (40/1)

3- (-2, 278) Matt Wallace (125/1)

Note: Repeat top-10 finishers from last year: 3 players: Brooks Koepka (1-1); Gary Woodland (8-6); Adam Scott (8-3)


On six (of 14) fairways and 10 greens in regulation, Koepka outbalanced two birdies with six bogeys, gaining 0.055 strokes tee-to-green and losing 0.616 on-the-green with 31 total putts.

Koepka records his fourth top 10 in seven PGA's, all four doubling as top 5s, and his 10th top 10 in majors, three straight, dating to T2 at last month's Masters and the win last summer at Bellerive.

Overall, the Floridian bags his sixth PGA TOUR title in 116 events (115 pro), and becomes the season's third multiple champ (Matt Kuchar, Xander Schauffele), joining his win at THE CJ CUP (as 54-hole leader) back in October in his season-opener.

He checked in off a solo 4th at last week’s Byron Nelson in Dallas as the top-ranked OWGRer in that field, capped off by a bogey-free, 6-under 65 in R4, and kicked off this week with a bogey-free, course-record, 7-under 63.

Koepka, the reigning Player of the Year, has shown ZERO signs of letting off the gas. Seventeen (17) of his 35 career top 10s are now podiums (6 wins, 8 seconds, 3 thirds).

FUN FACT: Koepka owned one TOUR win in his first 79 events (2015 WM Phoenix Open). He’s now bagged five in his last 36 starts and four in his last 21, the latter a 19.0% win-rate. Koepka’s win-rate in majors is now 18.1% with four ‘W’s’ in 22 attempts.


Koepka’s Position by Round:

R1: 1 (leader by 1)

R2: 1 (leader by 7)

R3: 1 (leader by 7)

Note: Koepka is the first wire-to-wire winner of the season (thru 30 events), and first at the PGA since Hal Sutton in 1983 (Riviera CC).


Leader/co-leaders by Round:

R1: Brooks Koepka (finished Won): Improves to 1-for-5 as 18-hole leader/co-leader

R2: Brooks Koepka (Won): Improves to 2-for-6 as 36-hole leader/co-leader

R3: Brooks Koepka (Won): Improves to 4-for-6 as 54-hole leader/co-leader

Note: Koepka is 3-for-3 in majors from the three-quarter lead/co-lead: 2019 PGA (as defender); 2018 U.S. Open (as defender); 2018 PGA.


How Koepka Won the Tournament:

Ranked 1st (or T1) in: Total Birdies; Birdie or Better Percentage; Birdie to Bogey Ratio; Par-4 Scoring; Greens in Regulation; SG: Approach; SG: Tee-to-Green

Ranked 2nd(or T2) in: Proximity; SG: Off-the-Tee

Note: See “Strokes Gained Leaders Stats” at the bottom, along with his full stats.

Least Important Stat(s): SG: Putting (ranked 46th); Driving Accuracy (44th); Total Putts (33rd); SG: Around-the-Green (31st); Putts per GIR (30th)


Koepka’s Q&A:

Q: You said earlier in the week that winning majors might be easier than winning regular TOUR events, but how is it to close them out… that was the most emotional we’ve seen you in a win.

A: Yeah, I mean, I didn’t hit the ball in the fairway, so you’re going to have some problems out here. It’s a difficult day, difficult golf course, and it was just a battle. DJ played a hell of a round to come back, and to grind it out there…very, very satisfied. This is probably the most satisfied I’ve been with all the majors.

Q: At what point today did you realize it wasn’t going to be easy and what was the most important shot/putt?

A: Probably doesn’t sound like much, but the putt on 16 (3’6” come-backer for par) I thought was, just gave me a little bit more confidence coming down the stretch. I know I missed one on 17, but you know, I think 16 helped me make 18 (par-saver from 5’10”).

Q: And given the wire-to-wire dominance, where do you rank this among your four majors with four wins in your last eight starts, does this put to rest who is No. 1 in the world?

A: I don’t know. It’s up to the World Ranking system or whatever. I feel like I’m playing good. This one’s definitely at the top of the list of how emotionally spent I am and how mentally spent I am. This one definitely tops the list.


FUN FACT:

The last six majors have all been won by Nike-clad athletes:

2019 PGA: Brooks Koepka (pre-tourney 11/1)

2019 Masters: Tiger Woods (14/1)

2018 PGA: Brooks Koepka (16/1)

2018 Open: Francesco Molinari (25/1)

2018 U.S. Open: Brooks Koepka (25/1)

2018 Masters: Patrick Reed (50/1)


By the Numbers:

0: Number of bogey-free rounds on Sunday with winds S 12-18 mph gusts to 25.

1: Koepka returns to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking. He first reached the top spot after his win at THE CJ CUP back in October. In both of these wins, he’s knocked Johnson from No. 1 to No. 2.

2: Runner-up DJ has now finished 2nd in all four majors. DJ was also T2 at last month’s Masters, as was Koepka. It’s DJ’s second runner-up this season (11 starts), augmenting his 20th TOUR win at the WGC-Mexico six starts ago.

3: Three players finished top 10 at this season’s Masters and PGA: Koepka (1-2); DJ (2-2); Cantlay (3-9).

3: Spieth’s T3 is first top 10 of season (14 starts) and first since T9 at last year’s Open as a 54-hole tri-leader (20 starts ago).

3: Cantlay’s T3 was his second top 10 in 10 majors, second straight after T9 at last month’s Masters.

3: Wallace’s T3 was his first top 10 in six majors, bettering a T19 at last year’s PGA. He’s qualified for Special Temporary Membership on the PGA TOUR.

4: With rounds of 69-67-69-69, DJ was the only player to record all four rounds in the 60s. Luke List (finished solo 6th) and Shane Lowry (T8) had three apiece.

5: Koepka’s five top 10s this season (in 12 starts) all double as top 5s. His five top 5s is tied for the season lead with Rory McIlroy and FedExCup leader Matt Kuchar, who both finished T8 this week.

7: Koepka’s 7-shot lead after Rounds 2 and 3 were the largest 36- and 54-hole leads in PGA Championship history.

10: Four-time past champ and last year’s PGA runner-up Tiger Woods missed the cut by one shot on 5-over 145 (72-73). It’s his 10th MC in 82 majors, first since last year’s U.S. Open, also on Long Island. After winning last month's Masters, this was Woods' first attempt to tie Sam Snead's record of 82 TOUR wins.

12: Koepka’s 12-under 198 was his same score (and aggregate) when 54-hole leader last year.

15: Koepka revealed a wrist injury at the 2018 Hero World Challenge where he finished 18th (last). He tried to play through it at the Sentry TOC and finished 34th (last), and then missed 15 weeks (torn tendon), including last year’s Masters.

17: The last player to win a major in wire-to-wire fashion was Spieth 17 majors ago (2015 Masters).

17.35: Koepka’s 17.35 SG: Tee-to-Green was the highest SG: TTG total by a winner this season, previously 13.55 by Bryson DeChambeau at the Shriners.

30: Of the 30 PGA first-timers, the best finish (and lone top 10) was T8 by South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen, his second straight top 20 in as many majors, joining a T17 at the 2018 Open (Carnoustie).

58: Koepka won last year’s U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills GC in Southhampton, NY, 58 miles to the east of Bethpage State Park.

70: In Koepka’s only other appearance at Bethpage Black, he finished T70 (of 79) at the 2016 Barclays on 7-over 291 (73-72-73-73), 16 shots back of champion Patrick Reed. He was playing his first season on the Challenge Tour in Europe – where he won one time in 10 starts – when the 2012 Barclays was staged at the Black Course.

74: Koepka’s closing 74 was his worst as a 54-hole leader/co-leader and his worst final-round score (by six shots) en route to victory. His previous worst was 2-under 68 at the 2018 U.S. Open (as 54-hole co-leader). Koepka’s playing competitor on Sunday was Harold Varner III, who cratered to T36 after an 81 (1 birdie, 6 bogeys, 3 doubles).

128: Koepka’s 36-hole aggregate of 128 was a new 36-hole aggregate scoring record at the PGA, previously 130 (on five occasions).

1949: This was the first PGA played in May since 1949.

2007: Koepka is first repeat winner of the PGA since Woods in 2006-2007.

5,905,127: With $5.9M in earnings this season in 12 starts, including two 1st’s and two 2nd’s, Koepka has already surpassed his total of $5.6M from the 2017 season in 24 starts.


Koepka’s TOUR Career:

Starts: 116 (115 pro)

Cuts Made: 97 (83.6%)

Top 25s: 61 (52.5%)

Top 10s: 35 (30.1%)

Top 3s: 17 (14.6%)

Wins: 6 (5.1%)

 

2019: 101st PGA Championship (54-hole leader by 7)

Winning Margin: 2 shots; defender

Career Start: 116

Event Type: MAJOR

2019: THE CJ CUP (54-hole leader by 4)

Winning Margin: 4 shots

Career Start: 105

Event Type: NO CUT

2018: 100th PGA Championship (54-hole leader by 2)

Winning Margin: 2 shots

Career Start: 100

Event Type: MAJOR

2018: 118th U.S. Open (54-hole quad-leader)

Winning Margin: 1 shot; defender

Career Start: 95

Event Type: MAJOR

2017: 117th U.S. Open (come from behind, 1-shot deficit)

Winning Margin: 4 shots

Career Start: 80

Event Type: MAJOR

2015: WM Phoenix Open (come from behind; 3-shot deficit)

Winning Margin: 1 shot

Career Start: 22 (first-time member, not rookie)

Event Type: FULL FIELD


TOUR Wins by Season:

2019: 2 (PGA; CJ CUP)

2018: 2 (PGA; U.S. Open)

2017: 1 (U.S. Open)

2016: 0

2015: 1 (WM Phoenix Open)

2014: 0 (Special Temporary Member)

Note: In Koepka’s six wins, he’s either been 1, T1, or T2 after 54 holes.


Koepka’s Major Career:

Starts: 22

Cuts Made: 20

Consecutive Cuts Made: 20

Top 25s: 16

Top 10s: 10

Wins: 4 (18.1%)

Major Form: 1-2-1-39-1-13-6-1


Koepka’s Season:

Starts: 12

Cuts Made: 11

Top 25s: 8

Top 10s: 5

Top 3s: 4

Wins: 2

Season Form: 1-4-22-2-56-56-MC-2-27-27-16-1


Koepka at PGA:

Starts: 7

Cuts Made: 7

Top 25s: 6

Top 10s: 4

Top 3s: 2

Wins: 2

PGA Form: 1-1-13-4-5-15-70


5

Koepka entered the week ranked 5th in career earnings at the PGA. He now ranks 2nd after banking $1,980,000 for a second consecutive year ($5,035,338 total). Woods, at $7,290,761, is No. 1.


7

Koepka Began R4: 7-shot lead

OUT: even-par 35 (1 birdie, 1 bogey); Koepka leads by 4 (over DJ)

IN: 4-over 39 (1 birdie, 5 bogeys); Koepka WINS by 2 (over DJ)


Strength of Field:

With a Strength of Field rating of 901 (down 11 from last year), Koepka banks 100.00 world-ranking points: 

OWGR: From 3 to 1 (up 2); tied career high

FedExCup: From 5 to 2 (up 3); tied career high


Field Scoring Average:

This was the 101stPGA and first at Bethpage State Park (Black):

Par 70 (35-35)

7,459 yards

 

R1: 73.06

R2: 71.65

R3: 72.35

R4: 73.44

Total: 72.54

Koepka: 63-65-70-74

SG: Total: 18.502


Low Rounds:

R1: 63: Brooks Koepka; course record

R2: 64: Adam Scott

R3: 67: Harold Varner III, Jazz Janewattananond

R4: 68: Gary Woodland, Beau Hossler


Bogey-free Rounds:

R1: (1): Brooks Koepka (63)

R2: (1): Bronson Burgoon (66)

R3: (1): Harold Varner III (67)

R4: (0): NONE

Multiple Bogey-free Rounds: NONE


Draw:

A total of 82 players (79 plus 3 club pros) from a field of 156 (136 plus 20 club pros) made the 36-hole cut of 4-over 144:

 

46 (of 77) EARLY/late; 1 WD (Brian Gay)

36 (of 78) LATE/early

 

Top 10s: 13

EARLY/late (6):

Brooks Koepka (Won); Matt Wallace (T3); Luke List (6th); Shane Lowry (T8); Erik van Rooyen (T8); Adam Scott (T8)

LATE/early (7):

Dustin Johnson (2nd); Jordan Spieth (T3); Patrick Cantlay (T3); Sung Kang (7th); Gary Woodland (T8); Rory McIlroy (T8); Matt Kuchar (T8)

Note: Six of the last eight PGA winners were EARLY/late with all six going off No. 10 tee in R1.

 

18 (of 30) tourneys so far this season with a traditional draw:

Winners:

EARLY/late: 7 (Koepka)

LATE/early: 11


31

Season Winners, including team-Zurich:

13 winners were in their 20s (Koepka age: 29)

12 were in their 30s

6 were in their 40s


Season Leaders in Top-10 Finishes:

9: Rory McIlroy

8: Jon Rahm

7: Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantlay, Gary Woodland, Matt Kuchar

6: Scott Piercy

5: Brooks Koepka, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia, Rickie Fowler, Paul Casey, Jason Day, Marc Leishman, Sungjae Im, Justin Thomas

 

Consecutive Top 10s on TOUR:

2: Brooks Koepka (1-4)

2: Sung Kang (7-1)

2: Matt Kuchar (8-2)

2: Rory McIlroy (8-8)

 

Consecutive Top-10 Streak Ended:

2: Jon Rahm (MC-1-9)

2: Sergio Garcia (MC-4-2)

2: Rickie Fowler (36-4-9)

2: Ian Poulter (MC-9-10)

2: Tiger Woods (MC-1-5)


Koepka’s Weekly Stats (ranking of 82 players):

Birdies: 19 (1st)

Bogeys: 11 (T10)

Birdie or Better: 26.39% (1st)

Birdie to Bogey Ratio: 1.73 (1st)

Par-3 Scoring: 3.06 (T16)

Par-4 Scoring: 3.88 (1st)

Par-5 Scoring: 4.63 (T16)

Driving Distance (all drives): 304.0 yards (3rd)

Driving Accuracy: 32/56 (T44) at 57.14%

GIR: 53/72 (1st) at 73.61%

Proximity: 30’1” (2nd)

Putts per GIR: 1.792 (T30)

Total Putts: 118 (T33)

Putts by Round: 25-30-32-31

Scrambling: 12/19 (10th) at 63.16%

All-Around: 10th


Leaders in Strokes Gained Stats:

SG: Off-the-Tee:

1. Dustin Johnson (7.238)

2. Brooks Koepka (6.693)

3. Cameron Champ (6.056)

4. Paul Casey (5.371)

5. Sam Burns (5.199)

 

SG: Approach-the-Green:

1. Brooks Koepka (9.532)

2. Gary Woodland (8.031)

3. Henrik Stenson (7.368)

4. Patrick Cantlay (6.796)

5. Keegan Bradley (6.337)

 

SG: Around-the-Green:

1. Adam Scott (7.177)

2. Brandt Snedeker (3.686)

3. Thomas Pieters (3.138)

4. Kiradech Aphibarnrat (3.121)

5. Beau Hossler (2.969)

31. Brooks Koepka (1.127)

 

SG: Putting:

1. Jordan Spieth (10.635)

2. Luke List (7.217)

3. Chez Reavie (7.100)

4. Matt Wallace (6.853)

5. Jazz Janewattananond (6.703)

46. Brooks Koepka (1.147)

 

SG: Tee-to-Green:

1. Brooks Koepka (17.356)

2. Gary Woodland (14.348)

3. Dustin Johnson (13.512)

4. Patrick Cantlay (10.512)

5. Paul Casey (8.828)