BETHPAGE, N.Y. — It wasn't the romp many predicted. Not even close. But in the end, the result was more or less the same: Brooks Koepka won the 2019 PGA Championship, picking up his fourth major after beating Dustin Johnson by two strokes.
Koepka began the day at 12-under with a seven-shot lead, but he made four straight bogeys on the back nine and saw his advantage shrink to just one over a hard-charging Johnson, who birdied No. 15 to get within striking distance.
But DJ would follow up that clutch birdie with two straight bogeys at Nos. 16 and 17, giving Koepka a three-shot cushion as he headed to the 17th tee.
He needed it. Koepka three-putted for bogey on the par-3 17th then pulled his tee shot well left on the 18th, forcing a layup. Koepka had to get down in three shots from there to win, but he only required two after sticking his lob wedge to six feet and holing the putt.
In the end, Koepka signed for a four-over 74 to post an 8-under 272 for the tournament.
"I'm still in shock right now," he said during the trophy ceremony. "This is awesome."
After showing no signs of blinking all week, Koepka didn't begin to falter until late in his round, as he made the turn at even–par then birdied the par-4 10th to stretch his lead to six.
That's when things got messy. Koepka started leaking oil just as Johnson was making his charge. He missed three straight fairways from Nos. 11-13 and couldn't save par each time, then pumped an 8-iron well over the green on the par-3 14th and made bogey.
But Koepka steadied himself and made solid pars at 15 and 16, then got up and down at 18 to seal the deal. He fist-pumped and screamed after holing the par putt, showing the most emotion he's displayed all week by far.
The 29-year-old becomes the first player ever to be the two-time defending champion in two different majors—he has now on the past two U.S. Opens and PGA Championships, as he held off Tiger Woods to win this tournament last year at Bellerive. He has now won four majors in his last eight tries. Koepka is also just the eighth player since 1930 to win his fourth major championship before turning 30. All four have come in the last 23 months, as he only picked up his first major championship at the 2017 U.S. Open.
In a stroke of poetry, Koepka will overtake Johnson as the world's No. 1 player when the new rankings are released Monday.
Patrick Cantlay, Matt Wallace, and Jordan Spieth finished in a tie for third at two under. It's the first time Spieth has finished in the top 20 this season, and he picks up his first top 10 since last year's British Open.