Golf: Koepka wins PGA Championship, Straka in 7th place

Golf: Koepka wins PGA Championship, Straka in 7th place
With an excellent final lap of 65, Straka catapulted himself from 20th place into the top ten for the first time.
Image: Kevin C. Cox (APA/Getty Images via AFP/GETTY IMAGES/KEVIN C. COX)

Brooks Koepka has become the first golfer on the new, controversial LIV tour to win one of the four major tournaments. The 33-year-old US professional won on Sunday (local time) at the 105th PGA Championship in Rochester (New York State) with a total score of 271 strokes, two strokes ahead of Norwegian Viktor Hovland and compatriot Scottie Scheffler. The Austrian Sepp Straka did a great job, even moving up to seventh place with a great round of 65.

“Yes, it’s great to end the week here with a good Sunday. It’s my best major finish. I’m very happy with the performance and I’m really happy,” said Straka later in an interview, before he knew the exact result. Straka’s exploit also meant a new Austrian major tournament record, writing a piece of golf history for red-white-red. The Viennese, who has been 30 since May 1st and also has US citizenship, catapulted himself from 20th place into the top ten for the first time with no fewer than eight birdies and three stroke losses on the last round. So far, Straka had never finished in the top 25 in the four majors.

$555,000 in prize money

He thus improved in the world rankings from 40th to 34th place and received no less than 555,000 dollars (513,508.51 euros). Incidentally, with 278 strokes (two under par), he tied with golf star Rory McIlroy, who received the same sum. The Northern Irishman is third in the world rankings. Together with him he was the second best European after Hovland.

The best result of an Austrian to date in one of the four major tournaments was achieved by Markus Brier in 2007 when he came twelfth at the British Open. Bernd Wiesberger achieved the red-white-red top result at a PGA Championship in 2014 with 15th place.

For Koepka it was already the fifth triumph with a major. In 2017 and 2018 he won the US Open, in 2018 and 2019 he won the title at the PGA Championship. “Looking back at where we were two years ago, I’m so happy right now,” said Koepka. “It’s just the coolest thing.” At the time, numerous injuries made him doubt whether he could still compete with the best golfers in the world. Now Koepka was presented with the massive Wanamaker trophy and a $3.15 million prize money check for his third win at Oak Hill Country Club.

Golf instructor as a secret star

Second-placed Scheffler took over the top of the world rankings again from Jon Rahm (ESP), Koepka jumped from 44th to 13th place.

Last year, Koepka joined other US stars like Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau to switch from the PGA Tour to the competing LIV series. The LIV tour is criticized for the millions invested in Saudi Arabia. “Congratulations @BKoepka your comeback was impressive. I’m so proud of you,” tweeted LIV boss Greg Norman.

The secret star of the 17.5 million US dollar tournament on Lake Ontario was a golf instructor from the Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in California. Michael Block had already won the hearts of the fans on the first three days, in the final round the 46-year-old finally became the crowd favorite after an ace on the 15th hole. On the 138 m long par 3, Block sank his ball from the tee – without the ball even touching the green – directly into the hole. “No, no. Never. Rory, did it go in?” the stunned Block asked his celebrity playing partner McIlroy. In the end, the golf instructor took a strong shared 15th place to the cheers of the fans.

Source: Nachrichten

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