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Brooks Koepka watches lead shrink, but holds on to win second straight PGA Championship

Joe Juliano, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Golf

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- Brooks Koepka watched a 7-stroke lead in the PGA Championship dwindle to one on Sunday on a shaky back nine at Bethpage Black, but he eventually outlasted his good friend Dustin Johnson and won the year's second major by two.

The drama involving Koepka on a windy day came right down to the 18th hole, where he pulled his tee shot into tall grass just outside a bunker. He chopped his ball out to the fairway to a spot 68 yards from the hole, and hit his third shot to 6 feet. He made the par putt and gave a wicked fist pump in celebration.

That finished a round of 74 for Koepka and a 72-hole score of 8-under 272 for his fourth career major title. He is the first player in golf history to hold back-to-back U.S. Open and PGA championships at the same time.

Johnson shot a 69 -- his fourth consecutive day in the 60s -- and took second place at 274.

Only four other players finished under par for the tournament. Jordan Spieth, falling short in his bid to complete the career Grand Slam, wound up in a tie for third at 278 after a 71. Patrick Cantlay (71) and Matt Wallace (72) matched that 278 figure, and Luke List carded a 74 for 279.

Koepka lost three strokes off his lead on the front nine but still was four in front going to the 10th tee. But he bogeyed the 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th holes, missing a pair of 6-foot par putts at 11 and 13, to fall to 9-under.

Johnson kept coming at Koepka, carding his fourth birdie of the day with an 11-foot putt at the 15th hole to get to 8-under and narrow the gap to two shots. When Koepka fell to his fourth straight bogey at No. 14, his lead had been reduced to one.

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But Johnson bogeyed the 16th and 17th hole, missing a 7-footer for par at 16 and knocking his tee shot at the par-3 17th over the green and into a bad lie. He saved par at the 18th.

Koepka kept things interesting with a 3-putt bogey at No. 17 and led by two walking up 18. He needed a bogey to gain the victory, and he got it with a par.

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