Min Woo Lee and Ryan Fox are your newest members of the PGA Tour after a productive PGA Championship for the Down Under contingent in New York.
Brooks Koepka shot a gutsy 67 at Oak Hill CC in Rochester to finish at nine under par. He won by two shots over final group playing partner Viktor Hovland (68), who shared second alongside Scottie Scheffler (65). It was Koepka’s fifth major victory and third PGA Championship title (2018 and 2019). Scheffler, with his share of second, returned to world No.1.
The 105th edition came down to the wire, with Koepka only holding a one-shot lead when he and Hovland made birdie at the short par-4 14th. Two holes later, a three-stroke swing at the par-4 16th put Koepka in position for the win.
Koepka made birdie from five feet moments after Hovland was forced to take a drop having hit his second shot from a fairway bunker into its grassy lip, embedding the ball. That led to a double bogey and gave Koepka a four-shot cushion with two holes remaining.
Cameron Davis was the top Australian in a tie for fourth at three under. That top-four result also guaranteed the Sydney native a spot in the 2024 Masters Tournament (an invitation category for Augusta National). Davis shared fourth with former US Open winner Bryson DeChambeau (70) and recent Arnold Palmer Invitational champion Kurt Kitayama (65).
Davis bogeyed the opening hole on Sunday’s final round in New York, but then roared back with four birdies and an eagle for a five-under 65.
“Five under in a major is always a really good score. I’m very pleased and very happy with the trend,” Davis said, referencing his recent return to form which includes a tie for sixth at the elite Players Championship in March and a seventh at the RBC Heritage last month.
Davis’ spectacular eagle came at the driveable par-4 14th, where his drive settle to close range and he drained the putt for a 2. “It was awesome. Any time you make an eagle in a major in front of a big crowd is a really awesome experience,” Davis said. “It was really nice to do that towards the end of the final round where every birdie or eagle you make at that point scoots you pretty high up the leaderboard.
“I was pretty pumped up, but at the same time you have to to go to the next hole and calm yourself down and hit a finesse shot. It’s a pretty unique up-and-down of emotions. Hit a lot of good ones. Feeling really pumped up today, which is great.”
Smith, the reigning Open champion, matched Davis’ 65 to finish one under and tied for ninth. That earned Smith his best finish at the PGA Championship and locked up career top-10s at all four majors. His best finishes are now: Masters (T2 in 2020); PGA (T9 in 2023); US Open (T4 in 2015); and Open Championship (win in 2022). “Yeah, getting back in the red was the goal today,” he said.
For the LIV contingent, Smith was among three LIV golfers in the top 10 on the leaderboard, which stretched to five who finished in the top 20 and 11 who made the 36-hole cut during a brutal test at the difficult Oak Hill course.
But Smith wasn’t looking at the LIV cohort as versing their peers on the PGA Tour on the major championship stage.
“I don’t think so; I gave up on that narrative about six months ago, I think (laughing),” Smith said. “I think
there’s been a few guys that have been trying to kick it along a little bit. We’re still out there. We haven’t forgot how to play golf. We’re all great golfers out there, and we know what we can do.”
Lee, the younger brother of LPGA superstar Minjee Lee, finished tied 18th while New Zealand stalwart Fox was tied 23rd. Both locked up Special Temporary Membership on the PGA Tour. Lee, a two-time DP World Tour winner, needed a solo 27th or better and Fox, also a multiple winner in Europe, needed a two-way T59. Lee shot a 71 to finish at two over par while Fox also signed for 71 and was three over.
Adam Scott (69, tied 29th at five over) and Lucas Herbert (70, tied 40th at six over) rounded out the Australian contingent.
Michael Block finished as the low club pro having tied for 15th at one over par with a 71. In a dream day for the California teacher, he made a hole in one at the par-3 15th playing with Rory McIlroy and his 15th place earns an exemption into the 2024 PGA Championship.