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US PGA Championship: Mickelson and Koepka set Sunday showdown

By Sports Desk May 22, 2021

Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka both shot 70 Saturday to set up a mouth-watering final pairing at the US PGA Championship. 

At seven under par for the tournament, Mickelson holds a one-stroke lead over his countryman entering the final round at Kiawah Island's Ocean Course after saving par on 18 while Koepka bogeyed the last. 

The 50-year-old Mickelson is the fourth player aged 50 or older to lead a major after three rounds in the modern era, which began in 1934. 

The others were Tom Watson at the 2009 Open Championship, Greg Norman at the 2008 Open, and Julius Boros at the 1973 US Open -- none of whom ended up holding on for the win. 

Mickelson has been resilient this week in South Carolina, though, steadying himself Saturday after going bogey-double bogey on 12 and 13 to make par on the final five holes. 

While Mickelson's resurgence has excited the fans, Koepka remains a model of consistency at the PGA.

He has finished at least tied for fourth in 12 of the last 13 rounds at the major, and he could become the first player to win the same major three times in a four-year stretch since Watson won the Open in 1980, 1982 and 1983.

Mickelson will be shooting for his sixth major title and first since the 2013 Open, while Koepka seeks his fifth. 

Louis Oosthuizen, who shared the lead with Mickelson entering play Saturday, managed just three birdies on the day on the way to an even-par 72 that left him five under for the tournament. 

American Kevin Streelman (70) is at four under, while Oosthuizen's South African countrymen Branden Grace and Christiaan Bezuidenhout are at three under after even-par rounds of their own. 

Bryson DeChambeau (71) was unable to gain ground on the leaders and enters Sunday five back of Mickelson along with Gary Woodland (72) and Joaquin Niemann (71). 

Jordan Spieth matched Billy Horschel for the low round of the day with a 68, and he sits at even par for the tournament along with Rickie Fowler (69) and Keegan Bradley (72).

Reigning Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama fell from contention with a 76, putting him at one over with the likes of Shane Lowry (73), Padraig Harrington (73) and Ian Poulter (73). 

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    Brooks Koepka earned bragging rights in his feud with Bryson DeChambeau after besting his PGA Tour foe in the latest edition of 'The Match'.

    Koepka and DeChambeau have been at loggerheads on the PGA Tour, tensions high since 2019 when the former called out the latter for slow play.

    DeChambeau responded by taking aim at fellow American Koepka's physique in 2020.

    The pair came together to help the United States to a record-setting Ryder Cup triumph over Europe in September, but they renewed their rivalry in Las Vegas on Friday.

    In a 12-hole exhibition showdown at Wynn Golf Club, four-time major champion Koepka celebrated a 4 and 3 victory in the match for charity.

    "Not going to lie, I just wanted to spank you," Koepka told 2020 U.S. Open winner DeChambeau upon clinching victory on the ninth hole.

    "I haven't played in two months," DeChambeau told TNT. "No excuses, though. I should have done better."

    Mid-match, DeChambeau asked Koepka rhetorically: "Where is this on the PGA Tour? You're playing so good right now".

    "It's kind of like my major right now, right?" Koepka replied.

    Afterwards, Koepka said: "Obviously, watching him up close and personal is pretty neat, pretty special to watch him hit the ball.

    "Like I said, there is respect there, but at the same time it was fun to come out here and settle this." 

    DeChambeau added: "I've always had respect for Brooks. He's won four major championships and what he's done for the game.

    "At the end of the day it was 12 holes and he got me. So, hopefully, there will be a rematch sometime soon." 

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    It has declared that British nationals arriving before Sunday morning after a stay in South Africa – as well as Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia – must self-isolate at home for 10 days and take two PCR tests in that time.

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    Flights to the UK from the newly red-listed countries were being suspended.

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    It was a "dream come true" for American Gooch, who closed with a six-under-par 64 to seal a three-shot victory in Georgia on Sunday.

    Gooch earned his maiden PGA Tour trophy in his 104th start – the 30-year-old becoming the second first-time winner on tour this season, joining Lucas Herbert (Bermuda Championship).

    A one-time winner on the Web.com Tour in 2017, Gooch tied the RSM Classic 72-hole scoring record of 22 under (Kevin Kisner 2015) after ending the final round bogey free at Sea Island Golf Club.

    "To finish the fall season off like I just did, it's a dream come true," said Gooch, who finished the tournament on a streak of 26 consecutive holes without a bogey.

    "This gets me into some tournaments I wasn't into. But I want to get to the TOUR Championship and this puts me a little bit ahead of the ballgame for that journey. The goal is to win the TOUR Championship."

    Canada's Mackenzie Hughes finished runner-up to Gooch following his eight-under-par 62, while Colombian Sebastian Munoz (65) was a stroke further back at 18 under.

    Tyler McCumber (60), Cameron Smith (64), Tom Hoge (67) and Seamus Power (68) shared fourth position, seven shots behind Gooch.

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