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Koepka oozes confidence with history within reach

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Brooks Koepka’s unspectacular third-round 69 did little to diminish his confidence as he looks to pull off a historic three-peat at the PGA Championship on Sunday.

Aug 8, 2020; San Francisco, California, USA; Brooks Koepka tees off on the 16th hole during the third round of the 2020 PGA Championship golf tournament at TPC Harding Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Koepka, a big game hunter who saves his best golf for the sport’s biggest stages, is two shots back of leader Dustin Johnson heading into Sunday’s finale and didn’t appear too worried about the other, less-experienced players bunched atop the leaderboard.

“A lot of the guys on the leaderboard haven’t won,” he told CBS Sports in an interview.

“I guess DJ has only won one,” he said, referring to Johnson, whose lone major championship came at the 2016 U.S. Open.

“I don’t know the other guys who are up there.”

Those “other guys” include Scottie Scheffler, who has never won on the PGA Tour, and Cameron Champ, who has two PGA Tour wins. Both sit a shot back of Johnson.

Tied with Koepka at seven-under 203 through three rounds is promising newcomer Collin Morikawa. The 23-year-old college standout has two PGA Tour victories since turning professional last year. Some believe he’s already poised for a major breakthrough.

But even with no fans in attendance at TPC Harding Park due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the pressure will still be intense, something Koepka said he is prepared for.

“A lot of experience is what I bring to it. Knowing I’ve been in this position a lot over the last couple of years,” he said.

Koepka has indeed been here before, having come up just short of a third straight U.S. Open title at Pebble Beach last year.

If the 30-year-old American can capture the Wanamaker Trophy once again, he’ll be the first player to do it three straight times since the 102-year-old tournament switched to stroke play in the 1950s.

Reporting by Rory Carroll in San Francisco; Editing by William Mallard

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