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Punch Shot: Who wins the 97th PGA Championship?

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SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – Jason Day leads Jordan Spieth by two shots entering the final round of the 97th PGA Championship. Branden Grace and Justin Rose are three back, while Martin Kaymer, who won the 2010 PGA champion at Whistling Straits, is four in arrears. Who will hoist the Wanamaker Trophy on Sunday? Our on-site team offers their picks.


Jason Day will win the PGA Championship not because he will putt better than Jordan Spieth, as if that’s possible, or dismantle Whistling Straits with that nuclear driver, but because he’s learned how to embrace the moment. Day admitted on Saturday that he didn’t enjoy his other major opportunities, like at this year’s U.S. Open and Open Championship, the way he has this week. That he hadn’t looked forward to a Grand Slam Sunday like he is now. Scar tissue can be a funny thing. After years of trial and error some never recover from so many near misses, but others learn how to use all that heartbreak to their advantage. No one has ever questioned Day’s abilities, a prodigy from an early age who seemed destined for greatness, and on Sunday he will finally have the achievement.


Jordan Spieth is creating a comfort zone few people know in major championships. He’s built a game and a state of mind that seems almost unaffected by pressure, or at least affected a lot less than are the other mortals challenging him this weekend. He’s reveling in what can be such a suffocating atmosphere. With his victories at the Masters and U.S. Open and his near miss at the Open Championship, he has become acclimated to the rarified air that chokes so many dreams. It gives him a huge advantage, and he’ll take advantage of it winning on Sunday.


Right now, there is no more fearsome pursuer in golf than Jordan Spieth. Sure, he holes an absurd number of putts, but more than that he has the self-belief that he can get the job done when the pressure is at its highest. All summer he talked about “free rolling” – that he could play freely in final rounds because he already had two majors this season. That’ll be the difference Sunday, when chases down another player trying to win his first.


I said Spieth would win at the beginning of the week and I'm not backing off now. He's coming off a back-nine 30 in Round 3, he's got a chip on his shoulder the size of the Old Course, and he's loaded with positive major memories as ammunition. Expect history to be made Sunday when Spieth joins Ben Hogan (1953) and Tiger Woods (2000) as the only men to win three professional majors in a season.