US PGA Championship 2019: third round – live!

It seems like only yesterday when Gary Woodland set a new record for the best 36-hole score at the PGA Championship, starting 64-66 at Bellerive last August. But Brooks Koepka is rewriting everything. At Bethpage Black – where a combined total of six players finished under par in the 2002 and 2009 US Opens – he’s shot 63-65. That’s overtaken Woodland’s 130 by two; Koepka’s cakewalk is, at 128, the lowest 36-hole total in major-championship history.

It doesn’t end there. Here’s the defending champion’s last five rounds in PGA Championship competition: 63-66-66-63-65. His current seven-shot lead is the largest at this stage in PGA Championship history, knocking Nick Price’s five-shot 36-hole advantage in 1994 out of the park. And putting the tin lid on it, since the 2016 PGA, Koepka’s cumulative score in the majors is 67 under par. This is absurd. Preposterous. Homeric. The man is on a plane of his own right now.

So this weekend is most likely to be a procession, right? Well, say you were forced to bet the farm … yes, you already know the answer to that. Then again, Moving Day can change everything. Koepka’s going round with Jordan Spieth this afternoon, and if there’s one player who could send a shiver down the leader’s spine in mano-a-mano combat, it’s the career-slam chasing Texan. It wouldn’t take outrageous drama: a 65 by Spieth, perhaps a 69 by Koepka, and the picture would suddenly look a lot different going into Sunday.

Thing is, would Koepka shoot anything as high as 69 … because it doesn’t look like there’s a chink in his armour right now. Not if the opening two days – the last two years – are anything to go by. He’s playing golf on another level, booming long accurate drives that allow him to cut corners at doglegs, chip close, then tap in, barely breaking sweat. Boom, swish, tok, birdie. Much may depend on whether Spieth can maintain his resurgence in form; he’s struggled at weekends recently. A couple of early birdies and Koepka may – may – start feeling a little pressure for the first time this week. Someone from the pack will surely launch a charge, too. Adam Scott? Rickie Fowler? Tommy Fleetwood? Hideki Matsuyama? DJ? Erm. Anyway, that’s me done trying to sell this as anything other than a done deal. I’ve tried my best.

We’ll get going at 4pm BST. In the meantime, let’s first raise a glass to absent friends. Here are some of the big names we won’t be seeing this weekend: Martin Kaymer, Jon Rahm, Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson, Branden Grace, Ian Poulter, Bryson DeChambeau, Kim Si-woo, Patrick Reed, Lee Westwood, Marc Leishman, Jason Dufner … and Tiger Woods.

Here’s how the leaders stand at the half-way point …

-12: Koepka
-5: Spieth, Scott
-4: Berger, D Johnson, Kraft, Wallace, List
-3: Rose
-2: Lee, Kang, Janewattananond, Varner III, van Rooyen, Fleetwood, Oosthuizen, Fowler, Matsuyama
-1: Cantlay, Burgoon, Piercy, Lorenzo-Vera, Revie, Schauffele, Howell III

… and here’s when they’re all teeing off. (All tee times local. Just add five hours for BST!)

7.50am: Joost Luiten, Lucas Herbert
8.00am: Justin Harding, J.T. Poston
8.10am: David Lipsky, Shane Lowry
8.20am: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Andrew Putnam
8.30am: JJ Spaun, Thomas Pieters
8.40am: Corey Conners, Rob Labritz
8.50am: Rich Beem, Rafa Cabrera Bello
9am: Adam Long, Ryan Vermeer
9.10am: Cameron Smith, Abraham Ancer
9.20am: Jason Day, Kevin Tway
9.30am: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rory McIlroy
9.40am: Emiliano Grillo, Tony Finau
9.50am: Jason Kokrak, Cameron Champ
10am: Haotong Li, Alex Noren
10.10am: Charley Hoffman, Graeme McDowell
10.20am: Adam Hadwin, Henrik Stenson
10.30am: Kurt Kitayama, Sam Burns
10.50am: Joel Dahmen, Billy Horschel
11am: Aaron Wise, Marty Jertson
11.10am: Brandt Snedeker, Max Homa
11.20am: Webb Simpson, Beau Hossler
11.30am: Pat Perez, Danny Willett
11.40am: Lucas Glover, Paul Casey
11.50am: Lucas Bjerregaard, Ross Fisher
12pm: Tyrrell Hatton, Francesco Molinari
12.10pm: Matt Kuchar, Jimmy Walker
12.20pm: Zach Johnson, Phil Mickelson
12.30pm: Gary Woodland, Keegan Bradley
12.40pm: Charles Howell III, Matt Fitzpatrick
12.50pm: Chez Reavie, Xander Schauffele
1pm: Scott Piercy, Mike Lorenzo-Vera
1.10pm: Patrick Cantlay, Bronson Burgoon
1.20pm: Rickie Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama
1.40pm: Tommy Fleetwood, Louis Oosthuizen
1.50pm: Harold Varner III, Erik Van Rooyen
2.00pm: Sung Kang, Jazz Janewattananond
2.10pm: Justin Rose, Danny Lee
2.20pm: Matt Wallace, Luke List
2.30pm: Dustin Johnson, Kelly Kraft
2.40pm: Adam Scott, Daniel Berger
2.50pm: Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth

It’s on!


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