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US PGA Championship day three: Koepka remains unassailable – largely

The American briefly saw his tournament-record seven-stroke lead reduced to five, but ended the day exactly where he had started.

Brooks Koepka takes a seven-shot lead into the final round of the US PGA (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Brooks Koepka takes a seven-shot lead into the final round of the US PGA (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Defending champion Brooks Koepka will take a commanding lead into the final round of the US PGA Championship after none of his challengers took advantage of some rare flashes of fragility at Bethpage.

Koepka, who had followed a course record of 63 with a 65 to set the lowest halfway total in major championship history, briefly saw his tournament-record seven-stroke lead reduced to five, but ended the day exactly where he had started.

A third round of 70 left Koepka on 12 under par and seven shots ahead of world number one Dustin Johnson, Harold Varner, Luke List and Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond, with England’s Matt Wallace and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama a shot further back.

Koepka is seeking a remarkable fourth major victory in his last eight starts and, because of the US PGA’s move from August to May, can become the first player to hold back-to-back titles in two majors at the same time following his US Open wins in 2017 and 2018.

Tweet of the day

Xander Schauffele gave an honest summary of the mood among the players at Bethpage, saying Koepka was “making it awfully boring” for the rest of the field.

Quote of the day

“Trying to say my last name. I heard all sorts. Some pretty good ones.”

Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond reveals the most interesting shouts he heard from the vocal fans at Bethpage.

Shot of the day

The fifth hole was the hardest on the course on Saturday but Koepka reduced it to a 331-yard drive and an approach from 142 yards which finished two feet from the hole to set up one of just two birdies there all day.

Round of the day

Harold Varner played his way into the final group for Sunday’s final round with a flawless 67 which equalled the lowest score of the day.

Statistic of the day

Koepka’s seven-shot lead after 54 holes is also the largest in US PGA history

Easiest hole

The par-five fourth played as the easiest hole for the third day running, three eagles and 33 birdies leading to a scoring average of 4.659.

Toughest hole

The easiest hole was immediately followed by the toughest on day three, the par-four fifth giving up just two birdies and causing 24 bogeys and four double bogeys for a scoring average of 4.366.

On the up

Brooks Koepka’s world ranking. Victory on Sunday will take the American back to the number one spot he has previously held for nine weeks.

On the slide

Jordan Spieth’s hopes of completing the career grand slam after a third round of 72 left him nine shots off the lead.

PA

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