PGA Championship 2019 Live Blog: Brooks Koepka cards even-par 70, still leads by seven shots heading into Sunday
FARMINGDALE, N.Y.—Eighty-two players made the cut at the 2019 PGA Championship, but all eyes will be on just one man on Saturday. Brooks Koepka ended second-round play with a seven-shot lead over the field, an advantage that doesn't seem to convey the disparity in play between Koepka and his competitors. Yet, while Koepka seems to be in the driver's seat, crazier things have happened. Follow all the Saturday action from Bethpage Black with the Golf Digest PGA Championship Live Blog.
6:53 p.m.: Ho hum par for Koepka at 18. Ho hum 70 to keep his seven-shot lead heading into Sunday. Check back tomorrow for a final-round live blog. That's a wrap on Saturday at Bethpage.
6:48 p.m.: Talking to CBS's Amanda Balionis, Dustin Johnson says one under is "the highest score I could have shot today." That is correct. He's also somewhat optimistic about tomorrow, saying "if I shoot a couple under, he shoots a couple over, you never know." Guy has got a way with words.
6:44 p.m.: Koepka hits a freaking bullet at the 18th down the left side of the fairway. No limping home for this guy.
6:40 p.m.: Koepka's birdie effort at 17 came up woefully short, but he still made his par putt to stay at 12 under.
6:38 p.m.: After making a mess of his first three shots, Dustin splashes one out from a green side bunker at 18 to kick-in range for bogey. Despite making six birdies, DJ only managed to card a one-under 69, putting him in a tie for third at five under. At the absolute worst, if Brooks Koepka makes two pars to finish, he's guaranteed to have a seven-shot lead on Sunday. He gave guys a chance to close the gap today, and no one really did it.
6:33 p.m.: Koepka has had his chances to step on everybody's neck, but he continues to kind of, sort of keep everyone in it. He just made bogey at 16 to drop back to 12 under, cutting his lead to six shots. It'll probably be seven again shortly though, as DJ missed his drive in the right bunkers at 18, then came up short in some fescue up near the green with his approach. Bogey looking likely.
List finished with two consecutive bogeys to drop to five under, putting him in a tie for third with Varner III and Janewattananond.
6:22 p.m.: DJ sails another par-3 green at 17, but this time plays a deft chip to inside a few feet to save par and remain at six under.
6:14 p.m.: Dustin Johnson hits a great putt at the 16th for birdie from 31 feet, but just barely misses it on the high side. Par to stay at six under, seven back of Brooks, who two-putted at 15.
6:10 p.m.: Stop us if you've heard this one before: Brooks Koepka missed the fairway at 15 and muscled a wedge on the green to make-able birdie range. If he makes this, it really is over, even though we've probably already said that a million times. By the way, while it seems like Koepka is alone out there if you're watching the broadcast, he's not. Jordan Spieth has been there all day, he just hasn't done much of anything. He's at one over for the round, four under for the tournament.
Koepka's lead is back to seven after List bogeys the 17th.
6:01 p.m.: Smooth Jazz Janewattananond makes birdie at the 18th to match Varner III's 67 and get in the house at five under as well. Back at 15, DJ holes his birdie putt, giving him three straight birdies on that hole this week. Some would say playing arguably the hardest hole on the course in three under is good.
5:54 p.m.: Hell of a round from Harold Varner III, the low round of the day as a matter of fact. Three-under 67 from HV3 puts him at five under for the tournament, good enough for T-3 at the moment. Varner's best finish in a major prior to this week? T-66 at the 2016 Open Championship. As long as he shows up to the first tee tomorrow, he'll beat that.
Back at 15, List makes his par after finding the green from the rough, while Johnson follows in the group behind with a stellar approach shot in, leaving him just five or six feet for birdie to get back to six under.
5:45 p.m.: DJ opted to putt his third from off the back of 14 green and motored it past, but still made the comebacker for bogey. Double would have been curtains for DJ, so that was a solid save. He needs at least one birdie on the way in now.
Actually, he might need two, because Koepka did indeed make his birdie to get to 13 under. Even he knows how insane that was, smirking to himself as he walked off the green.
5:42 p.m.: We said Koepka would probably still make par. He actually might make birdie after muscling a wedge out of the rough to about 15 feet. It's just not fair.
5:41 p.m.: Well, well, well. Koepka misses his drive well right at 13, then hits his second back into the right rough. Chances are he still makes par anyway, but as long as he's not making birdies guys like List and DJ can still close the gap. Though it looks like DJ might lose ground now after hitting his chip from behind 14 green short and watching it almost roll all the way back to him. All of a sudden bogey wold be a good score now.
5:35 p.m.: DJ's wayward drive at 13 ended up costing him, and he ended up having to settle for par. At 14, he just sailed the green. Par would be a hell of a score. Dropping a shot here would be quite the dagger for DJ. Up ahead, List misses the fairway at the difficult 15th. Just when guys start to creep closer to Brooks, they immediately fall back.
5:28 p.m.: At the par-3 14th, List makes it three in a row to get to seven under. Probably not a guy anyone thought would be the one to close the gap on Koepka. List is still in search of his first PGA Tour victory.
5:20 p.m.: The brutal stretch of holes 10 through 12 appeared like they might end any run from Dustin Johnson, as he bogeyed 10 and 11. But he just made a ridiculous birdie at the 12th to get back to six under for the tournament. At 13 he missed his drive right and found the rough, taking eagle out of the equation. He needs a birdie desperately here with the tough finishing stretch coming up. If he does make one, all of a sudden he'd be only five back.
Tied with DJ is another long hitter, Luke List, who is also at six under for the week thanks to back-to-back birdies at 11 and 12.
5:10 p.m.: Koepka rights the ship by finding the fairway at the 11th, and though his approach is a bit hooky, it gets out of the rough and onto the green. No worse than par coming up for Koepka.
5:01 p.m.: Hmm...starting to leak a little oil. Koepka makes a mess of the 10th: bad drive, bad approach, so-so bunker shot and misses the putt for par. As Joe Buck would say..."And now the lead...is down to SIX."
Actually, back to seven, as the Jazz Man makes bogey at the 14th.
4:51 p.m.: Hold the phone; Koepka is human. He misses a two-foot par putt on the ninth, bringing the field back into it.
Just kidding, he's still up by seven.
4:42 p.m.: Dustin Johnson finds the tall stuff on the 10th, but recovers beautifully...only to miss a three-footer. Koepka's lead back to eight.
On the ninth, Koepka hits his approach to 20 feet or so, while the X-Man wraps up his round with a par on the 18th. Schauffele is currently tied for seventh...11 shots back.
4:33 p.m.: Spieth makes another par, this time at the eighth. At this point he's playing for second, a standing which he's currently three strokes back of. Koepka keeps up with a no nonsense par, heading to the ninth at 14 under.
4:22 p.m.: Koepka is able to get his shot to the seventh green, but it goes long, and his chip skirts by eight feet to the left. Ahead at the ninth, Dustin Johnson dances with the pin, his second coming a foot away.
Of course, Koepka drops that par save with ease. He is an animal.
4:12 p.m.: So much for that. Spieth misses the shortie by a mile, while Brooks fails to convert his birdie as well. Spieth finds the fairway at the seventh as Koepka finds his first real trouble off the tee in the tournament, his ball sailing into the trees to the right.
4:08 p.m.: Spieth bounces back by nearly jarring his approach at the six. Brooks, meanwhile, casually puts his second to about 12 feet for an uphill birdie putt. Our stats and research team is checking to see if a 54-hole mercy rule has ever been in effect at the PGA.
3:56 p.m.: Spieth can't save par from a fried egg at the 5th, dropping to four under for the tournament. That's now 10 shots behind Koepka, after Brooks sticks his approach to two feet. Koepka now has an eight-shot lead.
3:54 p.m.: Other than DJ, the only other guy making a real move is .... Jazz Janewattananond? That's right, the 23-year-old from Thailand is three under on his round through eight holes, five under for the tournament.
3:51 p.m.: Two good shots at the sixth for DJ, but he misses a short birdie putt that would have gotten him to seven under. Amazingly, he's two under despite making a bogey at the short par-4 second and not taking advantage at the short sixth. He probably could be making this thing really interesting. As of now, he remains seven back of Koepka, who has made three pars and a birdie.
3:31 p.m.: For the first time all week, DJ birdies the par-5 fourth hole, which is hard to believe. He should have been able to overpower that hole this week, but couldn't find the fairway. He didn't find it today either, but was able to lay up, wedge one close and make the putt. Johnson is at six under, and may be the only one who could really challenge Koepka on Saturday. Spieth has made three straight pars to begin his round, but he's been shaky.
3:16 p.m.: After that disgusting par at the first, Koepka holes his short birdie putt at No. 2. Eight-shot lead. Warm up the vincecarteritsover.gif.
3:06 p.m.: Dustin Johnson made a bad bogey at the second, but quickly bounced back with a birdie at No. 3. He's at five under.
3:04 p.m.: Berger was able to two-putt from 63 feet for par. Nice recovery. Behind him, Brooks Koepka just miss birdie at No. 1. Guy stinks! Jordan Spieth also made par to begin his third round.
2:48 p.m.: Oh my goodness. Berger hits a perfect wedge into the first green that hits the pin and ricochets all the way off the front of the green. What a dagger.
2:45 p.m.: With 80 yards to the flag, DJ throws a little 64 degree wedge in tight and buries the birdie putt to get to five under. Ideal start. Kraft escapes with par after missing the fairway off the tee. Back at the tee, Adam Scott finds the long stuff while Daniel Berger hits a hellacious seed to similar territory DJ was in. Bomb.
2:32 p.m.: Dustin Johnson finds the fairway at the first. For those unaware, the broadcast reminds us that Dustin and Brooks are training buddies. Big if true.
2:25 p.m.: Here's your requisite Phil update: makes his fourth bogey of the day, dropping to two over. So much for those thumbs up.
2:21 p.m.: Xander makes a birdie at the long par-4 seventh to move to three under for the tournament. The X-Man could be in line for his fifth top-six at a major since Erin Hills.
2:11 p.m.: Justin Rose is now on the tee. Rose fires a strike down the fairway. Just three more groups until the leaders arrive.
2:04 p.m.: No. 3 must have a magnate, Space Jame style, at the bottom of the cup. Minutes after Hideki sticks it, Fleetwood follows suit. Here's hoping Fleetwood actually finishes the job.
1:53 p.m.: Hideki Matsuyama makes another sweet swing, this one at the par-3 third. Cat looks like he's feeling it coming out of the gate.
At least with his irons. Putter, not so much, sliding that putt by.
1:50 p.m.: Tommy Fleetwood nearly jars his approach at the first. Tommy Lad begins the day at two under. He's too far out to put any real heat on Koepka, but a 65 or so could put him in one of the final groups on Sunday.
1:44 p.m.: Good news: Xander Schauffele finally got some air time. Bad news: it was to show a blown three-footer. Xander is one under on his day and two under for the event.
1:42 p.m.: Matsuyama rolls in a 12-footer to birdie the first to get to three under. However, it took him two shots to get out of the rough after a wayward drive at the second. He hits a marvelous approach to six feet, but a bit of a dagger following the birdie at the first.
1:30 p.m.: Rob Labritz, one of the club pros to make the cut, turned in a two-over 72. He's currently in a tie for 75th, but given this quote, it seems like he's considering himself the winner of the week.
"You see this smile? I was reflecting with my wife this morning, we were talking a little bit, and she just said, you know, we've been prepping for this for a while. I told you guys, we've been prepping for this for the last year or so and I'm starting to really feel comfortable out there. I mean, I feel comfortable out there. I'm going to continue to prep and continue to work and continue to be the best PGA pro that I can be."
1:23 p.m.: Rickie Fowler and Hideki Matsuyama are off on the first. Matsuyama has been off the grid since his 2017 PGA Championship run at Quail Hollow. Though he's 10 shots back of Koepka, would be a good confidence booster for Matsuyama to leave with a top-5 finish. Both start the day in a tie for 10th.
1:20 p.m.: Brooks Koepka is on property, wearing all black. Least he could do was show up to Bethpage's wake after sending the course to its grave.
1:15 p.m.: Kevin Tway is having himself an interesting round. Walking up the 18th, Tway's made just one par in his last nine holes, with two birdies and six bogeys. Tway is currently nine over for the event.
1:10 p.m.: The eagle putt for Phil rolls just by, giving Mickelson a birdie. And if you're wondering why we're covering Mickelson so much, well...Koepka doesn't tee off for another hour and 40 minutes.
1:02 p.m.: Setting up to be a nice bounce back from Phil at the par-5 fourth. After smoking one off the tee, Mickelson's second lands in the greenside rough and trickles onto the putting surface. Will have a long putt, but it will be one for eagle.
12:55 p.m.: Mickelson can't reach the green from the fescue, taking a bogey at the par-3 third. Drops back to even for the tournament.
In an unrelated note, Trevor Immelman is simply a delight in the booth. Articulate, educational, funny. We complain a lot about golf broadcasters, but Immelman's all that you want in a color commentator.
12:52 p.m.: Oh boy. Rory McIlroy throws a dart at the 15th...and proceeds to yank the four-footer to the left. McIlroy is one under on the day, two over for the event.
12:45 p.m.: Emiliano Grillo comes THIS close to making ace on the 14th, his ball landing three feet and sucking back to an inch.
To the third, Phil hits one of the worst shots of the week, attempt to go right-to-left at a right-side pin. The shot barrels to the left, 30 yards short of the green and into thick stuff.
12:43 p.m.: Phil, man of his word. He drops a 25-footer for birdie on the second to move to one under. All he needs is another nine or so of those and he's in business.
12:39 p.m.: Disappointing week for Tony Finau thus far, but gets a couple back at the 13th, sticking his approach from a whopping 297 yards out to five feet. He converts the putt, the eagle getting back to even for his round.
12:27 p.m.: Phil Mickelson finds the fairway at the first to a raucous ovation, but can't do much with the approach, leaving it a good 35 feet short of the pin. Going to need to convert from deep to get those thumbs-up working.
12:20 p.m.: Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Shne Lowry are the first players to turn in sub-70 rounds, the pair shooting 68 on Saturday. On the front, Sam Burns makes the turn in 32 to get into red figures for the week.
12:11 p.m.: New York adopted son Phil Mickelson will begin his day 12 shots back of Koepka. Let's check in on Left to see how he's feeling about his weekend chances.
Mickelson's Dad-joke account might be the only redeeming thing about Twitter. Mickelson goes off in 10 minutes.
12:05 p.m.: David Lipsky was penalized for his Friday tee time despite standing on the first-tee steps. Despite the penalty, Lipsky still managed to make the cut on the number. While he wasn't late for Saturday's stroll, he probably wishes he would have slept in, shooting a seven-over 77.
11:54 a.m.: The first two groups of the day have finished...but there's still another three hours before the leaders go off. No one has gone particularly low this morning, a possibly byrprocut of a tough pin set-up for Saturday. As for the marquee names, Rory McIlroy is two under on the day and one over for the tournament as he heads to the back nine. McIlroy is tied with Adam Long and Emiliano Grillo for low scores of the day.
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