Adam Scott is confident he can claim a second of golf’s most prized trophies despite being caught in the slipstream of a dominant Brooks Koepka performance at the US PGA Championship at New York’s famed Bethpage Black.
As Koepka set scoring records through the first 36 holes, a second round of 6-under 64 put Scott in position to contend over the weekend, the 2013 Masters champion closing with rounds of 72-74 to be the best of the Australians in a tie for eighth.
In extremely difficult conditions Jason Day fought hard on Sunday with a 2-over 72 to finish tied for 23rd while Kiwi Danny Lee, who was sitting second to Koepka after an opening round of 64, struggled with a final round of 77 to be tied for 36th.
Cameron Smith had a consistent week while never being able to get anything going to be tied for 64th while Lucas Herbert – who made a lengthy putt for par to make the cut on the number – shot 73-75 over the closing two rounds to be tied for 71st.
The final 18 holes was expected to be a Koepka procession as he began with a seven-shot advantage, a margin that was down to five by the time he stood on the second tee.
He made four bogeys in succession from the 11th to the 14th hole – “I don’t know if I’ve ever made four bogeys in a row before” – which allowed good friend Dustin Johnson to draw to within just one shot.
Bogeys at 16 and 17 however stalled Johnson’s charge, Koepka righting the ship to get up-and-down from 70 yards at the 72nd hole to win by two shots, his fourth victory in his past eight starts in majors.
Beginning the final day just inside the top-10, Scott made bogey at the second and fourth holes but made a putt from just inside 14 feet for birdie at the par-4 ninth to turn in 1-over.
He dropped shots at 14, 16 and 18 on his way in but remained inside the top-10 at the completion of 72 holes, the 18th time he has finished so high in a major championship.
In his past four Major championships Scott has finished tied for 17th, third, tied for 18th and tied for eighth, instilling greater confidence ahead of next month’s US Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links.
“I feel like my game's in a really great place,” Scott said after his second round.
“If I can get out of my own head a little bit and just play and swing, I think good results are there.”
US PGA Championship
Bethpage State Park (Black Course), Farmingdale, New York
T8 Adam Scott 71-64-72-74—281 $US286,000
T23 Jason Day 69-74-69-72—284 $95,150
T36 Danny Lee 64-74-71-77—286 $51,810
T64 Cameron Smith 73-70-74-74—291 $22,660
T71 Lucas Herbert 74-70-73-75—292 $21,230
MC Ryan Fox 78-70—148
MC Marc Leishman 74-74—148
MC Brendan Jones 78-77—155
MC Stuart Deane 82-76—158
MC Craig Hocknull 82-77—159
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