Brooks Koepka was dominant.
Despite having two bogeys on the back nine at Oak Hill Country Club in the final round of the 2023 PGA Championship Koepka showed that he’s still one of the best players in the world.
His final round 67 was enough to secure a two shot win over Scottie Scheffler and Viktor Hovland. It became Koepka’s fifth career major title.
Hovland has a costly double bogey on 16 and Scheffler simply had too much ground to cover after a disappointing third round. All told, the way Koepka closed out his round – hitting a 178 yard approach shot to a little less than 10 feet – left no doubt about the outcome. He lagged the birdie putt to tap-in range, and closed it out.
It wasn’t particularly flashy coming down the final two holes, but it didn’t have to be. After back-to-back bogeys on 6 and 7, which brought the rest of the field into the equation again- Keopka would birdie 10, 12, 14, and 16. An errant drive on 17 would leave him with a bogey, but that was it for blemishes.
For Oak Hill Country Club, which has an uncertain future as a PGA Championship venue moving forward – it was a storybook ending. Not only because of quality play from the eventual winner, but because of a man named Michael Block.
The PGA Club Pro who took the world by storm this week after firing back-to-back even par performances went out into abysmal conditions on Saturday and did it once more. Sunday was going to be the biggest challenge Block had faced to date.
But he said late-Saturday that it was in his wheelhouse. “I can play with these guys,” he said during his post-round presser on Saturday. He wasn’t wrong. Despite Block not having his best stuff on the front nine – bogeying the first and seventh – he would rattle off seven consecutive pars before coming to the tee on 15.
He hit a 7-iron on the 151 yard par-3. In McIlroy’s post-round presser he called the shot Block hit a ‘little draw’. The ball was on a spectacular line from the start. It turned over, and landed in the cup on the fly.
Oak Hill erupted.
His reaction was … typical. Word traveled around the course quickly about Block’s ace. He would make a bogey on 16, and follow it with a par on 17.
Finally, after getting to 18 he belted his drive 288 yards – coming to rest in the right rough. He pulled his next shot – leaving a 30-something yard pitch. With 7 ft 6 in remaining, the club pro had to roll it in to secure his place at the 2024 PGA Championship.
Fitting to the rest of the week for Block – he rolled it in – the energy seemingly leaving his body. Instead of letting that moment get carried away though – he immediately went to work trying to tone down the crowd so that McIlroy could finish.
After the round, Block had trouble keeping it together. As one would expect coming off the most emotional week of his life. “I’m living a dream. I’m making sure that I enjoy this moment. I’ve learned that after my 46 years of life, it’s not going to get better than this,” he said. “There’s no way.”
Block’s playing partner showed an equal amount of respect for him – as the two shared a hug after the final hole.
“We both got amazing support out there,” McIlroy said in his post round presser. “But you know, he got unbelievable support, understandably so. Competing into the latter stages of a major championship. It was really impressive.”