PGA Championship: At least one golfer thinks Brooks Koepka can still be caught

Kevin Kaduk
Yahoo Sports

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — As a former New Yorker once said, “it’s ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”

The Yogism remains true, even if Brooks Koepka did his best to prove it wrong over the PGA Championship’s first two rounds. Koepka is seven shots clear of the field with 36 holes to go at Bethpage Black. Considering that he’s won three of the last seven majors, many people believe the final two days will be nothing but victory laps for the tour’s newest superstar.

That may be true, but there’s still half of a tournament to be played — and a lot stranger things have happened in the long history of golf.

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But what do the golfers looking up at him think?

“I think there's doubles left and right out there once you get out of position,” said Adam Scott, who is tied for second with Jordan Spieth at -5. “Hey, if [Koepka] can just keep doing that for another two days, then there's not much you can do. But I think someone, hopefully me, will chip away [on Saturday] and sneak up in the right direction.”

Justin Rose, sitting alone in ninth at -3, said he wasn’t “stressing” over Koepka’s large lead but expressed some doubt that anyone would be able to erase the deficit.

(AP photo)
(AP photo)

“When he was at 9-under, I was very comfortable with my position,” Rose said. “Twelve-under, I'm not so comfortable, I don't like that so much, him being so far out in front.”

Luke List, one of five golfers tied for fourth at -4, was more succinct.

“Obviously, we all need help from Brooks,” he said.

The one thing the field can’t do is let Koepka get any farther away during Saturday’s round because no golfer has come back from more than seven shots after three days of golf.

The largest comeback after 54 holes in PGA Championship history happened at Oakmont in 1978. John Mahaffey entered the round trailing Tom Watson by seven shots. He shot 66 while Watson posted a 73 to be drawn into a playoff that Mahaffey won. (The slip-up was costly: Watson never won the PGA, preventing him from joining the exclusive career slam club.)

The largest comeback in major history, meanwhile, happened at the 1999 British Open when Paul Lawrie came back from 10 strokes after three rounds to beat Jean van de Velde and Justin Leonard.

Koepka said on Friday that he didn’t play his best golf in the second round, a scary thought considering that he still posted seven birdies.

But playing partner Tiger Woodswho’s already sitting home after missing the cut, said he wouldn’t be surprised if Koepka turned on the afterburners and made a run at a margin of victory that reaches double digits.

“He misses on the correct sides, and he's far enough down there to where he’s able to get the ball on the green and he did all the little things right,” Woods aid “Still there's no reason why he can't increase this lead.”

Still, Scott was hopeful he could do the unthinkable and catch the hottest golfer on the planet.

“If [Koepka doesn’t] have a hot day, the gap narrows and there's pressure over whatever lead he might have or might not on Sunday,” Scott said. “I know he's won three majors. I know he seems impenetrable at the moment in this position, but at some point he's got to think about it.”

Here’s the thing, though: Does he?

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