FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – No player has ever lost a seven-shot, 54-hole lead in major championship history, and none of Brooks Koepka’s chief pursuers are expecting him to make history Sunday at the PGA Championship.
So they all have to find something else to play for in the final round – because the title seems out of reach.
“I don’t know if the tournament is just less fun because I’m 15 shots back or whatever it is,” said Xander Schauffele, who is in fact 10 back, after a Saturday 68, “but it’s very melancholic after today, just because every time I look up, I’m 10 to 12 back. No one likes to play for second, but that’s sort of what he’s doing to us.”
Koepka led by as many as eight shots in the third round, but he wasn’t able to build his advantage over the final five holes, which included a short miss for par on 16.
Schauffele said that Koepka’s excellence has snuffed out the excitement of the second major of the year.
“This is a major championship, and everyone is here to win, but there’s only one guy who’s absolutely destroying this place,” he said. “So I’m sure he’s having a blast, but for the rest of us, he’s making it awfully boring.”
The only hope for the field Sunday is if the PGA sets up the course for more birdies and Koepka – who leads the field in strokes gained: tee to green – somehow falters.
“You’ve got to tee off with the hope,” Adam Scott said. “I shot 6 under (Friday). Maybe they’ll set up the pins a little friendlier and give someone a chance to do that again. You never know. It’s possible he could struggle and shoot a couple over.”