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Four major takeaways from the 2023 PGA Championship’s final day

The 105th PGA Championship came to an end on Sunday as Brooks Koepka secured his third Wanamaker Trophy and fifth major win at Oak Hills Country Club in Rochester, NY with a score of 9-under 271.

After going back-to-back at the 2018 and 2019 PGA Championships at Bellerive Country Club in Missouri and Bethpage State Park in New York, Koepka found his way back into the winner’s circle for the third time in six years at a PGA Championship.  

From injuries to losing confidence in LIV Golf and beef with other players, Koepka, 33, became the first player since Jack Nicklaus to win three PGA Championships in a six-year stretch.

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The West Palm Beach, Fla. native was one of just 11 players to shoot under par, signifying the course difficulty throughout the entire week as the undulations around the course and weather conditions played a factor every day.

Finishing tied for second were Viktor Hovland and Scottie Scheffler at 7-under par with Bryson DeChambeau, Cam Davis, and Kurt Kitayama placing fourth at -3. Also joining the list of players who shot in the red numbers include past major champions, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose. Sepp Straka finished tied for seventh with McIlroy at 2-under par. Rose, who shot 1-under, tied for ninth with Patrick Cantlay and Cameron Smith.  

Overall, it was an exciting week of golf for the second major of the year. Here are four takeaways from the final day of the PGA Championship.

Koepka redeems himself after Masters collapse

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A month ago, Koepka had the 54-hole lead at the Masters looking to capture his first green jacket and be one Open Championship away from the career grand slam. However, he recorded a 3-over 75 in the final round at Augusta National and lost that green jacket to Jon Rahm.

Koepka did not want to have the same situation that he was in last month, needing a better Sunday finish. Through his first nine holes at Augusta of the final round, he recorded no birdies, six pars, and three bogeys.

On Sunday, he birdied three consecutive holes on the front nine and also birdied hole Nos. 10, 12, 14, and 16 on the back nine before eventually securing the win. His seven bridies led to a 3-under 67 in the final round for him to earn the win and a full house of Wanamaker and U.S. Open trophies.

Koepka’s third PGA Championship ties Sam Snead and Gene Sarazen for most Wanamaker trophies and only trails Tiger Woods with four and both Nicklaus and Walter Hagen with five.

Viktor Hovland can’t finish but continues solid majors performances

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Viktor Hovland rolled into this PGA Championship with a four-place finish at last year’s Open Championship and a seventh-place finish at last month’s Masters. With his second-place finish Sunday, he is the only player to finish inside the top 10 at each of the last three major tournaments.

Throughout the final round, Hovland kept up with Koepka until the 16th hole. Hovland was down by one stroke with three holes to play. His tee shot on the 464-yard par 4 16th went into the right fairway bunker. However, he thinned his shot from the bunker and caught the lip, which also happened to Corey Conners the day before.

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As a result of the unplayable lie, Hovland had to move his ball and ended up recording a double bogey that ultimately ruined his chances of claiming his first major title.

Outside of a bogey on the seventh hole, the double bogey on 16 was his only blemish, recording a 2-under 68 in the final round. Before his lone bogey on the front nine, Hovland birdied back-to-back holes on the par-5 4th and the par-3 5th. He also birdied two consecutive holes on the par-5 13th and the par-4 14th to stay in contention.  

Hovland became the only golfer in the field with four rounds at even par or better.

Scottie Scheffler makes a run, jumps to World No. 1

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Scottie Scheffler entered the final round with a third round he would want to forget, posting a 3-over 73. He bogeyed four of his first seven holes on Saturday to push him back from trying to claim his second major.

On Sunday, Scheffler tried to come back but it was not enough, recording a 5-under 65. He was one of five players to post the low round for the tournament at -5, which all came Sunday.

A key reason for Scheffler getting himself back into the tournament was that he recorded six birdies and a bogey. The bogey came on the difficult par-4 9th. With back-to-back birdies on each of the previous two holes before his bogey, Scheffler finished the back nine bogey-free with four birdies.

With his second-place finish, Scheffler became the first player on the PGA Tour to record double-digit top-10 finishes this season. He leads that category by two over Jon Rahm and Xander Schauffele, who both have eight tournament finishes inside the top 10.

Scheffler was unable to surpass Rahm in the FedEx Cup standings with 275 points, but he jumped Rahm for the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking after the Spaniard finished tied for 50th at 7-over par.

A PGA Championship Block Party

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One of the best moments throughout the entire tournament was the play from PGA Professional, Michael Block, who qualified into this week’s field after placing second at the 2022 PGA Professional Championship for the fifth time.

Block, who is a PGA Head Professional for his home club at the Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, Calif., was the only PGA professional to make the cut, scoring even par through two rounds.

A PGA Professional in the field this week is right in between being an amateur in the field and being a player in the field who qualified after a previous outcome.

After making the cut at even par, hovering around the top 15, Block went into the third round, playing alongside Justin Rose, the 2013 U.S. Open Champion. After recording another even par 70 in the third round, his playing partner in the final round: two-time PGA Champion, Rory McIlroy. Block was in disbelief when he heard he was playing the world’s third-best golfer on a major championship Sunday.

Entering the final round, Block had the opportunity to earn his way to some pretty big tournaments and future opportunities:

  • Top 15: 2024 PGA Championship
  • Top 10: 2023 RBC Canadian Open
  • Top 4: 2024 Masters
  • Two-way top 3: PGA Tour Special Temporary membership

Block, 46, had a tournament to remember, highlighted by his hole-in-one on the par-3 15th hole. Using a 7-iron from 151 yards out, Block hit his shot and it landed directly in the hole without any bounces or rolls into the cup.

As a result, he finished tied for 15th at 1-over 281 and earned a spot into next year’s PGA Championship, which will take place at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky. He was also invited to next week’s Charles Schwab Challenge as a sponsor exemption. Next week will be Block’s fourth PGA Tour event this season and the 26th of his PGA Tour career.   

On another note, Min Woo Lee and Ryan Fox both earned PGA Tour Special Temporary membership. Lee, who needed a solo 27th place finish or better, finished tied for 18th at 2-over par and Fox, who needed a tie at 59th place or better, finished tied for 23rd at 3-over.

The PGA Tour Special Temporary membership allows a player to accept as many sponsor exemptions to as many PGA Tour events as he would like for the rest of the season.

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