Tiger Woods was within touching distance of an incredible return to golf’s top table at the USPGA Championship at Bellerive.
The 14-time major winner has suffered years of injuries but, at the age of 42, looked to be heading back to form 11 years after his last taste of major success.
The four-time USPGA winner was four shots off the lead heading into the final round at St Louis, with Brooks Koepka leading the field.
Australian Adam Scott was two behind him on -10, while a trio of Gary Woodland, Rickie Fowler and Jon Rahm sat just behind him on -9.
Woods occupied another larger group behind on eight-under, heading into an exciting final day of the final major of the year.
Relive the final round as it happened here.
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- Tom Farmery
He finishes with a score of 16 under par and claims his second major of the season and the third of his career.
An outstanding achievement from a golfer who is still not considered one of golf’s major players despite his incredible power off the tee and his accurate approach play.
This is likely now to be all about Tiger and rightly so. But Koepka performed sensationally under pressure.
Koepka has been standing over his approach shot for some time now. He is 16 under par and two shots ahead of Scott and Woods. The wait has been because of what happened to Scott’s ball. His shot clattering against a tree which has left him in a tough position. Koepka is keeping calm. His time comes and he pitches onto the green. Tidy stuff.
How close he got here. He makes a brilliant birdie at the last to finish on 14 under par. Only a meltdown by Koepka and Scott would give him a chance of winning while sat in the clubhouse.
What a performance from Woods, though. Confirmation that he is able to compete with the best in the world and that he isn’t far away from winning tournaments again.
Lovely approach from Woods to the 18th falls to about 20ft. He’ll probably make that as well.
Meanwhile, Scott seems to have fallen away and Koepka is just off the green after his second shot to the par five 17th. He remains in control at 16 under par.
Koepka birdies the 16th and moves to 16 under par. Two ahead of Scott and a further three ahead of Woods.
It looks like game over. Another major is heading the way of Brooks Koepka.
A loud ‘fore right’ on the 17th. It looks like he’s been left with a miserable lie too. He’ll need something special now to get up and down. Woods shunts the ball up the fairway. He can still make birdie here but that seems highly unlikely. He finds the bunker from his third shot. Up and down would only be good enough for par.
He didn’t hit it strongly enough and the putt leaks to the left. It ran out of speed. Woods remains one shot behind Koepka and Scott and now has just two holes left of the 100th USPGA Championship.
All eyes on Tiger
Koepka and Scott are a hole back at the 15th. Scott has gone left, having called fore. Koepka is in position on the fairway.
Woods is on the 16th. 20ft away from the hole with a chance for birdie.
The par three 16th that is. 237 yards in distance. He manages to get the ball to about 20ft. Close enough to have a real go at the hole. Close enough that because it’s Woods you feel it will drop. This is extraordinary viewing.
His approach from 160 yards rolls to about 10ft. Yet another chance to make birdie. There is simply no way he can miss this one. And he doesn’t. He is now 13 under par.
Scott has a chance for birdie to claim the outright lead at 15 under but he misses his putt at 14.
Koepka’s birdie putt at 14 also misses. Big chances missed by both of them.
Well if Tiger isn’t going to then I guess Adam Scott will. He birdies the 12th hole and is level with leader Brooks Koepka on 14 under par.
Woods has a long putt for par. He misses as the ball goes round the rim and rolls to three feet away. Shot dropped. Back to 12 under he goes with four holes to play.
Woods didn’t make a full swing there. He didn’t look as though he fully committed to the shot. The result? He pushes his drive right and down near the trees. Just when he needed to find a fairway he misses one.
What on earth must be going through his mind now. Adam Scott has also joined Woods on 13 under after birdying the par four 12th.
Will today be Tiger’s day?
Woods sinks his putt from just under 10ft and the crowd go ballistic. He is now one shot behind Koepka.
He walks to the 14th tee with a swagger. What a performance from him so far today. Speaking of today, he is five under par for his round. Wow oh wow.
Woods launches his tee-shot at the par three 13th into the air. He watches it drop and then bounces forward before rolling to about 15ft.
In just a couple of minutes he will have another birdie putt and could be one shot back once he gets to the 14th tee.
Koepka, it’s worth pointing out, has made par at the 10th and 11th. Going steady.
The waiting around didn’t bother Woods. He sinks his putt for birdie to move to 12 under par, level with Adam Scott and two shots behind leader Brooks Koepka.
Six holes to play for Woods. What a brilliant chance he has of winning now. First, he must get himself back level.
His approach to the par four 12th really was beautiful. No he has the chance to move to 12 under par and two shots back from Koepka. It looks like a five foot putt for Woods. First the hole at the 12th needs to be repaired after Woodland’s approach landed on the edge of the hole. Bit of a delay while that happens.
Meanwhile, Koepka has just missed a birdie putt at the par four 11th. Adam Scott is now at 12 under. He’s had a brilliant round.
It looked like he’d done it. His 25ft putt tracked and so nearly dropped in the hole. It stopped just short. Millimetres short. Had that have gone in the roar would have been tremendous. All he can do is keep going and hope Kopeka and Thomas can mess up. Woods is doing all he can.
Woods so close to the lead at the USPGA
Another par four and another fairway found. I actually preferred it when Woods was playing a little more aggressive and his ball ending up in the rough was inevitable.
Thomas has a birdie chance at the 12th. It could be three birdies in a row for him if he makes his putt from 10ft. He stands over it, looks down the line and sends the putt towards the hole… but it misses.
Woods starts finding fairways but all of a sudden he can’t seem to get the ball close. Whereas before he was getting to within 15ft from poor positions in the rough, now he’s not even hopeful of birdies from near perfect lies. Woods make a two-putt par. He moves to the 11th at 11 under par.
And while all this is happening Koepka goes and makes birdie at the ninth to move to 14 under par. His to lose over the back nine.
He rips a driver down the fairway and is in perfect position. Adam Scott and Thomas Pieters have also moved to 11 under par. Scott’s swing, believed to be the most aesthetically pleasing in golf, is working to perfection so far today.
Time to focus
Woods makes his birdie at nine to move to 11 under and into a tie for the lead. Well, for a couple of minutes anyway. Koepa and Thomas move away once again. Koepka with back-to-back birdies at eight and nine to move to 13 under.
Woods still with so much work to do. He needs a very special score on the back nine.
Woods now on the tenth hole.
He is yet to find a fairway today. An iron shot goes left and he is left with a tough shot from the rough if he is even to get anywhere near the hole let alone make birdie. He sizes it up, moves forward and executes. Birdie putt coming up.
If he makes it he will tie for the lead. Also might be of interest to you that Woods has changed his top. Still red but this one is fresh (it is incredibly humid out there).
Amazingly, Woods makes the up and down and then sinks a tough putt for birdie. He is now on ten under par and just one shot behind Koepka and Thomas.
He walks onto the ninth tee and is met by deafening applause. Everyone, it seems, wants him to win here.
After going way left with his drive, Woods rifles a 3-wood under two trees but his ball finally comes to a halt in the right greenside bunker. Can he make up and down for birdie?
Meanwhile, Thomas is tied for the lead with Koepka on 11 under. Woods is nine under.
The par five offers a chance to make some ground up. But he has gone backwards (I mean sideways, literally).
A wild drive flies into the spectators on the left side of the fairway. A terrible start to the hole.
The par four 7th hole is the next to test Woods. He fails to find the fairway and then thins a shot from the rough. Somehow he holds the green and makes a putt for par. I’m really not sure how he managed it but he stays at nine under par.
Justin Thomas is now 11 under after birdying the 7th and Koepka remains out in the lead on 12 under par. Just four shots separates the three of them.
It is hotting up in St Louis.
Koepka drops a shot but it’s as though Woods doesn’t want to take advantage. He goes long at the par three 6th hole and has to settle for a bogey.
Nine under par now. That was a big blow just when it seemed things were opening up for him.
Tiger Woods hits out of a bunker… a familiar sight on Sunday
Out of position and seemingly out of luck, Woods somehow pitches from the rough (after getting a lucky lie between the bunkers) to within ten feet. He sinks his par putt and the crowd erupts.
Then on the next tee he sends his shot down the middle. A much better start to a hole.
Thomas, however, has just birdied the fifth to move level with Woods. Both are three shots back from Koepka.
Into the rough he goes at the fifth. He’s managed to clear out most of the gallery on the left side. He has a shot from about 120 yards to the green but he has to come over a tree. It was a wild tee shot he played.
He tries to add draw onto the ball but sticks it in a greenside bunker. Not a position any golfer wants to come from to be winning a major championship.
Woods is three shots behind Koepka after sinking a 6ft putt for par. What an approach he played to set that up. It really wasn’t easy. He is one shot ahead of the chasing pack on nine under and three back from leader Koepka.
Do not take your eyes off this.
Tiger plotting a way to win?
And not the good Tiger. He gets to the fourth hole. All pumped up he chooses driver and sends the ball into the rough. Frustrating. There is no point taking chances. Steady as she goes, Tiger. Steady as she goes. He recovers with a wonderful pitch that lands on the green and spins back towards the hole.
Woods is going really well here and a fantastic round could be his as long as he holds it together. Nothing daft. He’ll need to save par here, though.
Back-to-back birdies. Woods is lighting up the course in St Louis. He has just birdied the par three 3rd hole.
Brooks Koepka off to a great start, birdying the 1st to move to 13 under par. What a night we are in for here.
And he makes it. A massive moment for Tiger in this golf tournament. He looks composed and prepared to be play aggressive golf. Nine under par and three off the lead.
Six players now tied on nine under par.
Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy has just birdied the 17th and is now three under par for the tournament. That isn’t going to be good enough this year.
Lowry made quiet moves yesterday to get to within four shots of the lead. He has made early moves again during this final round. A birdie at the first has been followed up by two pars.
Lowry has a high, bombing ball flight and his game is suited to this course. If he can make a few more putts he has a chance.
Well, well, well. Had that gone in the crowd would have erupted. He misses his birdie putt to the left. He settles for par and moves on. There will be other chances in this round.
This will more be about how many birdies those around him make. Nobody is going to drop shots in a big way today. The course has been set up to be attacked.
Here we go then. A big night of golf ahead of us.
Justin Thomas has already made a move on the first hole. He made birdie there to get to nine under.
Woods is on the green at the par four 1st in two (and after playing his second out of a bunker) and will have a putt for birdie. So many following Woods today. Woods is four shots off the lead.
This really could be box office stuff.
Tiger Woods of the United States walks on the practice green ahead of his final round