USPGA: Even resurgent Tiger Woods can not stop Brooks Koepka

Champion smile: Brooks Koepka holds the Wanamaker Trophy after he won the PGA Championship.
Champion smile: Brooks Koepka holds the Wanamaker Trophy after he won the PGA Championship.
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BROOKS KOEPKA held off a thrilling challenge from Tiger Woods to join one of the most exclusive clubs in golf with a nerveless victory in the 100th US PGA Championship.

Koepka carded a closing 66 in a breathless final round at Bellerive Country Club to finish 16 under par and two shots ahead of Woods, joining Woods, Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus as the only players to win the US Open and US PGA in the same season.

After becoming the first player in 29 years to win back-to-back US Open titles at Shinnecock Hills in June, Koepka has won three of his last six major starts, a wrist injury having forced him to sit out the Masters in April.

But the final US PGA to be staged in August will also be remembered for an extraordinary performance by Woods, who threatened to complete one of the greatest sporting comebacks in history by claiming a 15th major title and first since 2008.

Woods failed to hit a single fairway on the front nine, still covered it in three under and also played the back nine three under in a remarkable 64 which surely ended any lingering doubts about his ability to win again.

“I was in contention the last two majors and would never have foreseen that a year ago and I’m just so thankful to be here,” said Woods.

“I played hard. It was a bit of a struggle with my game today. I was just hanging in there, grinding it out and trying to make as many birdies as possible. I made a little bit of a run and am going to come up a couple of shots short.”

Woods began the day four shots off the lead in a tie for sixth, exactly the same position he was in after 54 holes of the Open Championship at Carnoustie, where he would move into a one-shot lead with eight holes to play before fading to sixth.

The 42-year-old, who only returned to competitive action in November after spinal fusion surgery last April, missed from seven feet for birdie on the first but converted from three feet on the second and almost holed his tee shot on the third to set up another gain.

A bogey on the sixth was followed by birdies on the eighth and ninth, despite wild tee shots on both occasions, to close within one, but Koepka responded to dropped shots on the fourth and fifth with a hat-trick of birdies from the seventh to restore his two-shot overnight lead at the turn.

Woods finally found the fairway on the 10th and 11th but failed to birdie either hole, his birdie putt on the latter agonisingly stopping on the edge of he hole and refusing to drop in.

There were no such issues on the next as Woods holed from five feet, although he did have to wait for the hole to be repaired after it was damaged by the approach of playing partner Gary Woodland.

And when he holed from twice the distance on the 13th, the deafening roar told everyone on the course that Woods was just one shot off the lead alongside Australian Adam Scott, who had birdied the 10th and 12th.

Scott then moved into a share of the lead as he birdied the 13th and watched Koepka miss from closer range, while Woods bogeyed the 14th after finding heavy rough off the tee and failing to get up and down from right of the green.

That proved to be just a temporary blip in the amazing display Woods was producing, a drive of 330 yards down the 15th being followed by a pinpoint approach from 164 yards which pitched and stopped just a foot from the hole.

But just when he needed another similar drive on the par-five 17th, Woods sliced his tee shot almost into the creek which runs down the right side of the hole.

Although it was not in the water it did land inside the hazard and he could only chop it back on to the fairway and eventually save par from a greenside bunker, but Koepka had crucially birdied the 15th and 16th to restore a decisive two-shot cushion.

Scott bogeyed the 18th to drop out of a tie for second, with Stewart Cink and Jon Rahm two shots further back in a tie for fourth.

Collated final scores (USA unless stated, par 70):

264 Brooks Koepka 69 63 66 66

266 Tiger Woods 70 66 66 64

267 Adam Scott (Aus) 70 65 65 67

269 Jon Rahm (Spa) 68 67 66 68, Stewart Cink 67 69 66 67

270 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 68 67 68 67, Justin Thomas 69 65 68 68, Gary

Woodland 64 66 71 69, Thomas Pieters (Bel) 67 66 71 66

271 Tyrrell Hatton (Eng) 71 67 69 64, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa) 70 68 69 64

272 Daniel Berger 73 65 66 68, Shane Lowry (Irl) 69 64 69 70, Brandon Stone

(Rsa) 66 68 70 68, Rickie Fowler 65 67 69 71, Kevin Kisner 67 64 72 69, Chez

Reavie 71 68 67 66, Jordan Spieth 71 66 69 66

273 Jason Day (Aus) 67 68 67 71, Matt Wallace (Eng) 71 66 68 68, Jason Kokrak

68 67 71 67, Zach Johnson 66 70 71 66, Webb Simpson 68 68 68 69, Kevin Na 70 69

68 66, Julian Suri 69 66 68 70, Justin Rose (Eng) 67 69 69 68

274 Dustin Johnson 67 66 72 69, Branden Grace (Rsa) 68 70 68 68, Ryan Fox (Nzl)

68 70 68 68, Patrick Cantlay 68 67 70 69

275 Emiliano Grillo (Arg) 69 67 69 70, Chris Kirk 68 70 68 69, Ian Poulter

(Eng) 67 70 68 70, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa) 73 67 67 68

276 Pat Perez 67 67 70 72, Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 68 69 73 66, Xander

Schauffele 70 67 67 72, Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 69 70 69 68, Billy Horschel 68 69

69 70, J.J. Spaun 69 68 72 67, Russell Knox (Sco) 71 68 69 68

277 Keegan Bradley 69 68 71 69, Tony Finau 74 66 69 68, Charl Schwartzel (Rsa)

70 63 69 75, Ben Kern 71 69 67 70, Jimmy Walker 69 70 69 69, Martin Kaymer (Ger)

71 69 67 70, Brandt Snedeker 72 67 69 69, Sungjae Imn (Kor) 71 67 71 68

278 Seung-su Han 74 66 66 72, Rory McIlroy (NIrl) 70 67 71 70, Andrew Landry 73

65 69 71, Austin Cook 67 72 69 70, Russell Henley 74 65 71 68, Brice Garnett 71

68 69 70

279 Cameron Smith (Aus) 74 66 73 66, Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 70 70 69 70, Thorbjorn

Olesen (Den) 70 68 73 68

280 Satoshi Kodaira (Jpn) 71 68 69 72, Andrew Putnam 68 69 72 71, Ollie

Schniederjans 67 71 72 70, Eddie Pepperell (Eng) 72 66 67 75, Jhonattan Vegas

(Ven) 70 70 70 70, Ryan Moore 69 70 68 73

281 Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 73 65 70 73, Chris Stroud 69 70 76 66, Ross Fisher

(Eng) 68 69 73 71, Yuta Ikeda (Jpn) 68 69 71 73, Adrian Otaegui (Spa) 73 67 69

72, Kevin Chappell 69 71 70 71

282 Nick Watney 75 65 70 72, Ted Potter, Jr. 74 66 68 74, Joaquin Niemann (Chi)

68 71 71 72, Jim Furyk 69 71 71 71, Marc Leishman (Aus) 68 71 72 71, Brian

Harman 72 68 71 71, Charles Howell III 74 66 72 70

283 Vijay Singh (Fij) 71 69 71 72

287 Brian Gay 67 73 75 72

289 Scott Brown 72 68 74 75