Brooks Koepka finally ran out of major momentum.
Seeking to become the first player in more than 60 years to win the same major three years in a row, and the first to do it at the PGA Championship since the 1920s, Koepka began the final round just two shots off the lead. But while low scores were abundant and several players rolled in birdies while jockeying for position, the two-time defending champ came up empty.
Koepka dropped a shot on No. 2, went out in 39 and didn’t make a birdie until the 12th hole. It added up to a disastrous, 4-over 74, a score that beat only one player (Jim Herman) in the final round and one that dropped Koepka into a tie for 29th place.
“To make the turn at 4 over was disappointing, to say the least,” Koepka said. “You knew you had to be under par, at least one, to have a good chance on the back side. I mean, it’s my first bad round in a while in a major.”
Koepka spoke confidently after the third round, and he had the record to back it up. Having won four majors since 2017, he entered the final round poised as one of the favorites where among the other players in the top 20, only 54-hole leader Dustin Johnson had previously won a major. But that pedigree didn’t help him on a foggy day at TPC Harding Park, where he ultimately finished 10 shots behind winner Collin Morikawa.
It’s just the second time in his last 18 major starts that Koepka has finished outside the top 25, and Monday will be the first day since he won at Erin Hills on June 18, 2017, that he won’t wake up as a reigning champion at one of golf’s four majors.
“Hey, wasn’t meant to be,” Koepka said. “Three in a row, you’re not really supposed to do two in a row looking at history. But that’s all right. Got two more (majors) the rest of the season and we’ll figure it out from there.”