Salem Radio Network News Tuesday, June 6, 2023


Golf-Koepka chasing PGA Championship hat-trick as sun returns to Oak Hill

By Steve Keating

ROCHESTER, New York (Reuters) – After a nasty week of frost, wind and torrential rain the sun returned to Oak Hill on Sunday for the final round of the PGA Championship with Brooks Koepka holding a one shot lead looking to complete a Wanamaker trophy hat-trick.

Winner of four majors including back-to-back PGA Championships in 2018 and 2019, Koepka sparkled in tough, rainy conditions on Saturday to climb atop the leaderboard one clear of Norway’s Viktor Hovland and Canada’s Corey Conners.

The big-hitting American will head out onto the challenging East Course at 2:30 pm ET (1830 GMT) paired with the 11th ranked Hovland.

Out just before them will be Conners, bidding to become the first Canadian man to win a major since Mike Weir’s Masters victory two decades ago and Bryson DeChambeau, who starts three off the pace.

The day could be remembered as watershed moment for LIV Golf with two of its standard bearers Koepka and DeChambeau in position to deliver the controversial Saudi-bankrolled circuit some major validation.

Critics of LIV Golf have branded the big-money venture as uncompetitive and little more than a sportwashing enterprise by a country eager to polish its human rights record.

A victory by Koepka or DeChambeau would not end the human rights questions but would give the tour a bit of the credibility and legitimacy it seeks.

Right behind the two leading pairs are some of golf’s biggest names, including world number two Scottie Scheffler and number three Rory McIlroy, who are on the fringe of contention but will need to be on the charge right from the start.

Scheffler, who can reclaim the number one world ranking from Jon Rahm with a win, had a miserable third round 73 and will start four back of the lead alongside 42-year-old Briton Justin Rose.

McIlroy, an honorary member at Oak Hill, has looked out of sorts all week but the battling Northern Irishman has managed stay in the hunt at five back.

One of golf’s marquee names McIlroy will be partnered with one of the big unknowns in 46-year-old teaching professional Michael Block.

Block, who has “Why Not” written on his golf balls, has become the every man bluecollar hero and gallery darling at Oak Hill by carrying the hopes and dreams of every duffer who has picked up a club.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Rochester)


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