Roundtable: Surprises, analysis from Round 3 of PGA Championship
May 18, 2019
By Staff , PGATOUR.COM
- May 18, 2019
- Luke List is tied for second after shooting a 1-under 69 on Saturday. (David Cannon/Getty Images)
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – The third round of the PGA Championship saw Brooks Koepka continue his domination and set up a likely coronation 18 holes Sunday. Here PGATOUR.COM’s writers tackle some of the big questions out of Saturday at Bethpage Black.
No one has ever lost a seven-shot lead with a round to play on the PGA TOUR. Is there any possible likely scenario in your mind that sees this change?
BEN EVERILL (Staff Writer): I don’t think so. Look, I’ve felt the pain of the Greg Norman 1996 collapse at the Masters. I know things can happen… but Bethpage Black doesn’t have water. If Brooks finds rough, he can just hack out. Could he shoot 72 and Dustin Johnson shoot 65 for a playoff? As I write that I can see Lloyd Christmas… “So you’re saying there’s a chance.” It’s over.
SEAN MARTIN (Senior Editor): Nope. Even though players are taught to hide behind humility, even Koepka said he can’t see a way he doesn’t win this thing. His strength is such an asset. There aren’t many players who can hit greens here after missing the fairway. Koepka is one of them, leading the field in greens hit and proximity to the hole. His Strokes Gained: Approach is 4 shots better than the next-best player.
ROB BOLTON (Fantasy Insider): Define possible. Short of a life-or-death event that would force him to withdraw or a freak injury while sleeping or in transport to and from Bethpage, hahahaha...
How many major championships are you prepared to guess Koepka will win in his career?
EVERILL: He hits four this week, in his last eight starts. I think he could easily win at least one more PGA, another U.S. Open and the Masters will fall his way… that makes seven.
MARTIN: He wants double digits. I think seven would be a great career. These things are harder to win than he’s making it look. Remember that Rory McIlroy is still stuck on four. And Phil Mickelson has five in one of the greatest careers in golf history.
BOLTON: To steal a line from the sport, you’re only as good as your last major victory. So, at least four. However, if I was a betting man, I’ll set the over-under at 7½. He wants 10 but name the last golfer who has achieved his publicized goal for career victories in the majors. I’ll wait.
Forget Koepka for a minute. Which of these non PGA TOUR winners has the best finish tomorrow and why – Harold Varner III, Luke List or Jazz Janewattananond?
EVERILL: After spending time with him today I’d love the Jazz man to push his way towards a Presidents Cup berth. But Varner III is also one of the greatest guys on TOUR so I could smile with that also. But it will probably be List. He has the length… and hey, he has an Australian caddy in Shay Knight on his bag.
MARTIN: List. He has the length and strength, like Koepka, to recover after a missed fairway. He’s been knocking on the door and so he has the most experience with this position.
BOLTON: Great question. Each presents uniquely, but Varner III seems to be feeding off the energy of the locals the best. While relatively scant, his overall success in the biggest events generates my highest confidence that he’ll gallop through the tape even if it’s just for a silver or a bronze.
Jordan Spieth fell back to T8 with a 72. Are you buying or selling his chances of a first top-10 since the 2018 Open Championship?
EVERILL: Seeing the frustration on his face post round was enough for me to sell. The weekend struggles continued and his Sunday scoring average this season is his worst… it will likely continue. Would love to be proven wrong though!
MARTIN: Unfortunately, I don’t see it happening. I walked 18 with the last group today, and he had to work really hard just for that 72. Weekends have been his struggle and that was the case again Saturday.
BOLTON: This depends on how Bethpage is set up on Sunday. I suspect that the PGA of America will allow for numerous chances for highlights if for no other reason than the engraver already can begin working on the Wanamaker Trophy. Spieth performed his best when the course was scorable on Thursday and Friday, so I like for him to threaten for a top five.