SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 8 ― Brooks Koepka delivered a magical bunker shot to make birdie on his closing hole yesterday as he fired a two-under 68 to stay in contention at the PGA Championship in San Francisco.
Koepka is just two shots behind leader Li Haotong of China to keep his pursuit of a third straight PGA Championship alive.
“I feel very comfortable with an iron in my hand,” said Koepka who is at six-under 134. “With a driver I feel very comfortable. I feel like I'm hitting it really solid. I just need to make a few more putts.”
Koepka hit some jaw-dropping drives and clutch iron shots in the second round as he finished with four birdies and two bogeys. He used 300-foot plus drives to set up birdies on No. 4, No. 10 and No. 18.
Koepka's tee shot on 18 sailed 339 feet but found a fairway bunker. He blasted his next shot out of the sand to seven feet and made the putt for birdie.
“Incredible. That ball was a foot above my feet,” he said of he bunker shot.
Koepka sought treatment for a sore hip on three occasions on the back nine with the first time being at the No. 12. He had knee problems heading into the PGA but says this was something different.
“It was my hip. Nothing to do with my knee. It's fine,” he added. “I woke up this morning, it was tight, and worked out and it got even tighter and then we loosened it up.
“It just like locked up, cramped, and I couldn't really do anything with it.
“It definitely relieved some issue. I think the one going into 16, where he (trainer) yanked on my foot -- I don't know what Mark does -- but it popped and it felt like it just kind of repositioned itself. That's when it felt a lot better.”
Koepka is seeking to become the first player to win the same major three consecutive times since Peter Thomson won The Open Championship from 1954-56.
The four-time major winner won the 2018 PGA Championship and successfully defended his title last year at Bethpage Black. He also has back-to-back US Open titles and fell just short of winning a third straight, finishing second last year to Gary Woodland at Pebble Beach.
He is also seeking to become the first player since Tiger Woods in 2005-08 to win at least one major in four consecutive seasons. ― AFP