Woods throws charge into Bellerive with wild final-round 64

Tiger Woods kept himself in contention for a first major title since 2008 in thrilling fashion as Rory McIlroy's hopes of ending his own drought disappeared in the 100th US PGA Championship.

But Tiger's putter? It brought more moans than cheers to the fans, and more frustration than joy to Woods. That gave Koepka a two-shot cushion that allowed him to coast into the finish, much the way he did at Shinnecock earlier this summer, and at Erin Hills in last year's U.S. Open.

"Now, that doesn't mean to say that a guy could have had a relatively average summer, and he goes on a tear, plays well here at the PGA, goes to NY, goes to Boston and plays well". "And I made sure I did on 17. I don't think it will be rocket science for us to figure out, the small little bits that may be missing, and if anything, this is motivation to kick on a little bit, make the most of the rest of this year, continue playing at this level, and go into next year's season full of confidence".

Koepka was responsible for that.

For one final flourish, Woods sank a 19-foot putt for a birdie that got him to 14 under and pumped his fist to celebrate.

With his 264, Koepka set the record for the lowest 72-hole score in a PGA Championship. My putting was OK but God, I hadn't played in two years.

Back in the day, that ball dropped for Tiger Woods.

"I could hear it, " Koepka said and smiled as Woods hugged him afterward, acknowledging just how boisterous it was up ahead as Woods was making eight birdies in a round of 64.

Aug 12, 2018; Saint Louis, MO, USA; Tiger Woods lines up a putt on the 10th green during the final round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Bellerive Country Club.

Thomas Bjorn might have seen it coming.

"I was pretty ticked at the British Open", Woods added. "He recognized who that guy was that day", Bjorn said.

Getting the best of Koepka sets up as a daunting challenge for Woods, though the 42-year-old, 14-time major victor could easily argue he's been through worse.

He didn't hit a single fairway - 0-for-7 - on the front nine but still made four birdies and shot 32, hitting his 9-iron from just off the cart back at the ninth hole to 10 feet for a birdie among his more remarkable feats.

That was as good as it got.

And Woods' last chance to apply real pressure vanished when he pushed his tee the par-5 17th right of the creek running along the right side of the hole. He did well to advance it, but had to save par from a bunker.

"They were loud and they stayed around and it has been incredible", Woods said.

Koepka never imagined a year like this. He sat in 20th place at the start of the week.

His 2018 campaign has taken everyone by surprise and came close to winning his first PGA Tour event in five years at the Valspar Championship, finishing one-shot back.

"We'll explore all of [the options], what are those second-tier tournaments that we may be able to draw to Missouri".

He now is No. 2 in the world, with a shot at overtaking Johnson in two weeks when the FedEx Cup playoffs start.

After changing his sweat-soaked shirt, Woods lost ground with a three-putt bogey on the fifth, but bounced back in style with birdies on the sixth, seventh and eighth.

  • Julie Sanders