Casey screeches his second at 14 from 157 yards to three feet! One of the shots of the day, and he deservedly grabs a shot of the lead at -10 by tapping the birdie putt home. This has been non-stop since the get-go. It’s been a hell of a ride already. What next?!
Finau walks in a putt from the fringe at the front of 14! He joins the group at -10! Birdie for his partner DeChambeau, too, and he punches the air as he finally makes it back to -9. Day meanwhile pars 15. This is joyously absurd. You know what, this could be decided by whoever eagles 16. At least one of them is going to eagle 16, right?
-10: Wolff (F), Day (15), Finau (14), Morikawa (12), Scheffler (11), D Johnson (11)
-9: DeChambeau (14), Casey (13)
Xander Schauffele looks disappointed with his final-day 67. A fair chance, though, that at -8 he’ll register yet another top-ten finish at a major. If he does, it’ll be six out of 12. His time will come.
Matthew Wolff, playing in his very first major, is the new clubhouse leader. He screeches his approach at 18 to five feet, and knocks in the birdie putt. It’s a strong finish … a 65 … and it gives him co-ownership of the tournament lead as well. That’s a gauntlet thrown down, though you suspect he might be a shot or two shy. Still, you never know. If he does make it, he’ll join Willie Park Sr., Francis Ouimet, Ben Curtis and Keegan Bradley in winning a major at his very first attempt!
-10: Wolff (F), Day (14), Morikawa (12), Scheffler (11), D Johnson (11)
-9: Finau (13), Casey (13)
A loose tee shot at 12 costs Champ a shot. He slips back to -8 again. Grim-faced, he’s the bizarro Day right now. Meanwhile bogey for Casey at 13, the result of underclubbing his approach then compounding the error with a heavy-handed chip. Casey, chasing his first major at 43, looks more pensive than annoyed. He slips to -9.
Day’s putter is warming up nicely. A 15-foot birdie effort across 14 threatens to lip out, but eventually drops after performing the wall of death. He joins the ever-expanding leading group, and celebrates accordingly. Of all the players out there, he’s the one enjoying himself the most obviously right now.
-10: Day (14), Casey (12), Morikawa (12), D Johnson (11), Scheffler (11)
Finau couldn’t make his two-putt par at 12, incidentally. It led to his first bogey of the day. But he bounces back brilliantly, curling in a right-to-left 30-footer on 13 to return to -9 immediately! Another vital one, right there, as time, holes and space for error start running out. The tension is palpable, events coming to the boil. Imagine the temperature if Harding Park was packed with punters!
Casey’s second into 12 flies into the rough at the back. He chips back a little clumsily, six feet past. A tricky one coming back. But he nails it. That was so vital. He stays in a tie for the lead at -10.
A slip-up by DJ on 10, as he sends his second into the bunker on the left. He’s shortsided, and can’t get close with his third. A huge birdie chance slips by, and that’s effectively a shot handed over to the field. His partner Scheffler makes no such mistake, and his birdie brings him into a four-way tie for the lead. Meanwhile a nice up-and-down from sand at 13 for Day. He remains at -9, where he’s joined by Wolff, who leaves his eagle effort short on 16 but makes no mistake with the resulting four-footer.
-10: Casey (11), Morikawa (11), D Johnson (10), Scheffler (10)
-9: Wolff (16), Day (13), Champ (11)
Kim Si-woo, the youngest-ever winner of the unofficial fifth major, the Players Championship, is coming up quietly on the rail. Birdies at 2, 7, 10 and now 15, and he’s -8. A strong finish – like Ryan Palmer’s earlier eagle, birdie, birdie, for example – and he could post something to give the rest of the field pause. See also Matthew Wolff, who has just battered his tee shot at the short par-four 16th to the fringe. Outside chance of eagle.
Jason Day did extremely well to save his par at 12, getting up and down from a greenside bunker. Tony Finau, coming behind, looks a good bet to save himself too, having driven into the trees but manufacturing a low fizzer and finding the dancefloor. Two long putts, but that’s a quite exceptional outcome from where he was. Meanwhile, Collin Morikawa joins the leaders with one of those must-make-really birdies at 10. His partner Cameron Champ regroups after that double with a bounceback birdie. He’s back to -9.
-10: Casey (11), Morikawa (10), D Johnson (9)
-9: Day (12), Finau (11), Champ (10), Scheffler (9)
Paul Casey grabs himself a share of the lead! He birdies the 10th after a crisp approach to ten feet, and his first major championship in his 64th attempt is a very real possibility now. He looks steady and calm, something he’s not always been at the business end of the majors. God speed. Are we about to see the first English winner of the PGA since Jim Barnes in 1919?! Meanwhile pars for Scheffler and Dustin at 9, and the final group hits the turn, ringing the bell for the start of the 2020 PGA Championship: it’s the last nine holes on major Sunday!
-10: Casey (10), D Johnson (9)
-9: Day (12), Finau (11), Morikawa (9), Scheffler (9)
Champ’s chip is tame and he leaves himself ten feet short. He can’t save himself with the flat stick this time, the ball shoved right, and it’s a painful double. He’s back where he started: -8.
-10: D Johnson (8)
-9: Day (11), Finau (10), Casey (9), Morikawa (9), Scheffler (8)
-8: Li (15), Wolff (14), Rose (11), DeChambeau (10), Champ (9)
Finau doesn’t make the mistake of his partner DeChambeau, and makes a lovely boring birdie at 10. No fuss, no sweat, he’s going along very nicely at -9. Meanwhile on 14, Wolff, having missed two hige birdie chances on 12 and 13, overhits a short birdie putt. It horseshoes out, and he slips back to -8. What a sickening sequence for the young man.
Back-to-back birdies for Jason Day, as he suddenly emerges into the light! He drains a long putt across 11, and suddenly he’s only a shot off at -9! Meanwhile more careless work around the green by DeChambeau, and it’s only a par on the par-five 10th.
Champ is snookered behind a tree and is forced to chip out sideways. That’s terrible luck, though it was a godawful drive too. A bogey most likely now. Can he get up and down from 175? He shakes his head as he pushes his approach right, the ball taking a big kick further offline and into thick stuff. Meanwhile back on 8, a great up and down from sand for Scheffler, who is mooching along quietly after his opening birdie. He stays at -9. And his partner DJ gets up and down from thick grass at the front, and he stays at -10. Unless Champ chips in, he’ll be the sole leader soon.
So having said that, Champ sends a big slice towards the trees down the right of the extremely difficult 9th. God speed. Birdies for Jason Day on 10, and Li Haotong at 14; they’re both -8 and this is an excellent performance from Li in particular, after all he’s been through this week.
Champ trundles in his par saver! What nerves of steel! That was heading into the centre of the cup from the very second it left the face of his flat stick. He remains at -10 and right now has the determined look of the man to beat. The 25-year-old Californian already has two wins to his name in his short PGA Tour career … and he’s been the longest hitter this week. A telling stat, because the longest hitter has won seven of the last 30 PGA Championships. What a story this would be.
Champ takes an eyeful of sand as he whacks out of the bunker at 8. It’s a decent long bunker shot, but not an exceptional one, and he’ll need to sink a 20-footer to save his par. Meanwhile up on 13, Wolff wastes another great birdie chance, knocking his approach to five feet but shoving it wide left with great uncertainty. He should be leading after back-to-back birdies; as it is, he’s still one behind Champ and Johnson at -9.
DeChambeau has left himself an 11 foot 3 inch putt from the fringe at 9. He hits it 11 feet and 2 inches. He taps in with a frown. All of a sudden, he’s taken a screeching u-turn and is heading backwards in the grand fashion. Like his partner Finau, he’s turning in 33 at -8, but you know full well who’s the happier bunny right now. DeChambeau trudges off with hands in pockets, a study in dejection.
Tony Finau has been quiet since that birdie-birdie opening salvo. But he’ll be happy enough with the seven pars that follow. He hits the turn in 33, and at -8 is still right in the mix, without breaking too much sweat and using up all that precious emotional energy. He might need it later. What am I saying? Of course he’ll need it later. Business end of a major championship coming right up!
Champ slam-dunks his tee shot at 8 into the bunker guarding the front right of the green. One club short. That’ll be a long, long sand shot. Also in trouble, DeChambeau up on 9, who fires a long birdie putt past the hole and onto the fringe behind. He has the good grace to look embarrassed at putting off the green.
Some news of Tommy Fleetwood, and it isn’t good. His weekend struggles continue, after yesterday’s ground-out 70. Birdies at 5 and 7, but a double at 6, the result of a woefully wayward drive, and another bogey at 9 means he’s turning in 36. At -5, he’s too far back with too many players up ahead. That 64 on Friday looking like an outlier now. But here’s some better news for English fans, as Paul Casey keeps on keeping on. Par at 8 and he stays at -9.
A lovely second into Wolff to six feet. But there’s a bit too much juice behind the birdie putt, and a chance to birdie a very difficult hole is gone. He remains one off at -9.
DeChambeau does pretty well to clear his head and, from the fringe, lag a putt up to kick-in distance. He limits the damage to bogey, but drops out of the lead.
-10: Champ (6), D Johnson (6)
-9: Wolff (11), DeChambeau (8), Casey (7), Morikawa (6), Scheffler (5)
-8: Finau (8)
DeChambeau fluffs his chip from the side of 8. Deceleration to the max! The first sign of nerves shown by any of the leading contenders today. Unless you count Koepka, which I’m afraid we no longer are. He three-putts on 7, his second bogey of the day, and the three-peat dream is over. He’s -5, and even if he puts a run together, there are surely too many players ahead of him – 15 to be precise – for at least one not to head him off at the pass.
Bryson’s tee shot at 8 isn’t all that, yanked into the cabbage to the left of the green. There’s enough green for an up and down, but it’s still a job of work. Meanwhile on 6, Champ snatches a share of the lead by sending a 56-foot downhill tramliner into the cup! That putt statistically had a two percent chance of dropping. He joins DeChambeau and Johnson on -10. This is gloriously daft!
A rare old birdie for DeChambeau at 7. Having driven into the greenside bunker, he looks to have hit his sand shot a wee bit too clean. But just as it seems to be bounding through the green and off the other side, the ball puts the brakes on. Screech! In goes a 15-footer coming back, and it’s his fourth birdie of the day. DeChambeau’s best finish in a major came in his first as a professional, a tie for 15th at the 2016 US Open. He’s now joint leader of this one at -10.
Koepka is gone. He hoicks his drive at 7 into thick filth down the left of 7. He doesn’t look at the races today; shades of the way he stumbled out of the traps at Portrush last summer. Trouble for Morikawa at 6; he flays his drive between trees down the left, and can only squirt out into thick rough front-right of the green. That’ll be a testing up and down.
Schauffele shortsides himself at the 10th. He can’t get up and down from sand, and it’s just a par at a hole that’s been shedding birdies all week. He remains at -7, and the feeling of a huge missed opportunity is enhanced when his partner Matthew Wolff races in a 20-foot eagle effort to zip up to -9. That followed three birdies in a row; he’s picked up five shots in double-quick time. Good luck calling the winner of this!
Patrick Reed is having a good day. Birdies at 4, 5, 10 and now 14 bring him up to -7. Meanwhile up on the 18th, the world number one Justin Thomas signs for a level-par 70; the 2017 champ ends the week at -1.
Li Haotong has turned things round nicely. He looked a beaten docket after last night’s bad luck was compounded by bogey at 2 today. But he’s birdied 5, 7 and now 10, and he’s in the group at -7. Marvellous to see; he was so unfortunate to lose a ball up a tree yesterday evening.
It’s just not happening for the reigning champ Brooks Koepka. A straight birdie putt on 6 is left meekly short. A par, but he’s stalled at -6, currently four off the lead and three behind the big pack in second. Too many players in his way? Seems daft to say, but the big man is running out of time.
Bounceback birdie for Dustin on the par-five 4th! It’s a hole he’d have been expecting to birdie, but not like this, curling a tricky 12-footer from the fringe. But that steadies the ship after his dismal three-putt on 4, and he hits the lead again!
-10: D Johnson (4)
-9: DeChambeau (6), Casey (6), Morikawa (4), Champ (4), Scheffler (4)
-8: Finau (6)
-7: Li (10), Schauffele (9), Wolff (9), Berger (7), Day (6), Rose (6)
Thanks to Tom. Nothing much has changed since I took that quick break, right? Ah. Right, let’s see where we are … bloody hell!
-9: DeChambeau (5), Casey (5), Morikawa (4), Champ (4), Scheffler (4), D Johnson (3)
-8: Finau (5)
-7: Schauffele (9), Wolff (9), Berger (7), Day (6), Rose (6)
There are now 16 players within three shots of the lead, although it will probably be 43 by the time I finish this sentence (Casey has just joined the leaders at -9).
Champ gets out of the bunker nicely and birdies the fourth to take his place in a four-way tie for the lead at -9. And Morikawa joins him! He’s now at -9! I don’t think we’re going to get a runaway winner today…
Scheffler and Johnson don’t get too close to the hole with their tee shots on the par-three third, but neither of them are in trouble. DJ’s first putt is well short of the hole though, and he’ll be left with a tricky third shot, which he … misses! He’s back at -9. Scheffler is much closer after his second and is left in tap-in territory. It’s now DJ, Scheffler and DeChambeau tied for the lead at nine under.
Elsewhere, Casey is now -8 after a birdie on the fourth, he’s started his day very well indeed.
DJ chips to within six feet of the flag on the second – it’s a tricky putt with a slight slope down to his left but he handles it well for par. Scheffler also takes a par on the same hole. Elsewhere, Morikawa’s first birdie of the day on the third means he is now -8.
Let’s see how DJ goes as he takes his second shot from the bunker on the second – it’s a good lie though and he’s out easily enough. DeChambeau’s promising early charge continues – he is inches short of an eagle on the fourth but taps in for a birdie and he’s now nine under and just a shot off the lead. Fleetwood’s birdie on the fifth takes him to -7.
Dustin Johnson’s tee shot finds a bunker on the left on the second but Scheffler’s drive is straight and true. Champ’s birdie putt trickles just wide on the second.
DJ cleans up for his birdie, while his partner Scottie Scheffler, making his PGA debut this week, matches the score. This leaderboard is going to change by the minute this afternoon, so
bear with us. Here’s how they stand:
don’t sue us
-10: D Johnson (1)
-9: Scheffler (1)
-8: Finau (3), DeChambeau (3), Champ (1)
-7: Schauffele (6), Day (3), Berger (4), Casey (2), Morikawa (1)
And with that, I’ll hand you over to Tom Lutz. See you again soon!
DJ is out and about. He crashes his drive down the middle, and chips calmly from 50 yards to six feet. Koepka meanwhile can’t make his 15-foot par putt at 2, and the reigning champ goes backwards. He’s -6, and passes Xander Schauffele, who heads the other way upon registering back-to-back birdies at 5 and 6. He’s -7.
DeChambeau lags up from 40 feet at 3. Par. Finau’s effort, from half the distance, needs just the one more turn to drop for the perfect start. But he’ll be happy with par too. Both remain at -8. But there’s bother for Koepka at 2, as he hits overhanging branches down the left and comes up short. Left in thick cabbage, he can’t flop close. Trouble here. Meanwhile back on 1, Morikawa splashes out from the sand too energetically and his ball trundles way past the flag. But he rattles in a 25-footer to scramble his par, a huge save that keeps him at -7.
CBS segue to a commercial break with the bongtastic strains of Estimated Prophet by the Grateful Dead. Sing along, Bryson; with feeling, Brooks. “California! I’ll be knocking on the golden door / Like an angel standing in a shaft of light / Rising up to paradise, I know I’m gonna shine.” DeChambeau and Finau both find the heart of the green at the par-three 3rd; Collin Morikawa sends his approach at 1 into the bunker on the right, where he’ll be shortsided.
A huge smile across Finau’s face, as he rolls a 20-foot birdie putt straight into the cup on 2. A fast start for a player who has to make the major breakthrough sometime soon, he surely has to. DeChambeau follows him in, and this pair are inspiring each other to great things already!
-9: D Johnson
-8: Finau (2), DeChambeau (2), Champ, Scheffler
-7: Day (2), Casey (1), Koepka (1), Morikawa
DeChambeau has come flying out of the traps. He crashes a 344-yard drive down the middle of 2, then eases a glorious approach to three feet. That is quite magnificent. Back on 1, pars for Koepka and Paul Casey, the latter doing very well to make his four after copping an unlucky lie in the rough off the tee. They remain at -7.
Good old CBS. As well as having a lovely logo, they flash up some very interesting infographics. Should Brooks Koepka win today, he’ll become the fastest man to reach five majors after winning the first one. He’ll have done it within 1,148 days; Tiger took 1,225, while Jack Nicklaus needed 1.394, the slowcoach. Arnold Palmer needed 1,463 days, while Ben Hogan took 1,687. Nick Faldo’s next on the list with 1,827. So there you have it, in living color. Perhaps the big eye in the sky is looking down on him, too, because while he flays his opening drive into thick stuff down the left, it sits up. He’s able to find the green with his second, and while he can’t generate the spin to go close, he’ll have a look at birdie from 20 feet or so.
Back to 1, where Finau has cleverly left himself a good yardage for his wedge. He knocks it dead. He’ll tap in to move to -7. DeChambeau meanwhile faces a more awkward 50-yard chip, but he scoops it to four feet. Delightful, and in goes the putt. He’s started with birdie too! A three-putt bogey for Varner III at 8, though, and he drops back to -5.
-9: D Johnson
-8: Champ, Scheffler
-7: Day (1), Finau (1), DeChambeau (1), Casey, Koepka, Morikawa
-6: Berger (2), Fleetwood (2), Rose (1)
Up on 18, Rory whisks his second to eight feet, but leaves the putt on the high side. A great chance for a valedictory birdie gone, he cocks his head back in mild despair. It’s not been his week. Not awful, not great. That final hole was his tournament in microcosm, basically. A 68, and he ends the week at -2. Much to think about, though all is far from lost.
Up on the green, Jason Day, having stuck his second to eight feet, walks his birdie putt in. Calm and confident, he immediately rises to -7. His partner Justin Rose has to make do with par, but that’s better than yesterday, when he left this hole having made a bogey and railing at his caddy for some minor club-selecting misdemeanour.
Here comes Bryson! A no-nonsense start as he absolutely pearls his first drive down the right-hand side of the fairway. Just the 320 yards of carry. He’s going round with Tony Finau, who isn’t shy of knocking the cover off the ball himself, but opts to send a controlled fairway wood down the middle instead. This pairing promises plenty of crash-bang fun … and no little finesse around the green.
Daniel Berger drains a 30-footer on the 1st to save his par. He remains at -6. In contention and in form, that’s a huge moment if he ends up making it today. Meanwhile another birdie for Adam Scott, this time at 10, and he rises to -5.