PGA Championship: Dustin Johnson reflects on frustrating finish at Bethpage
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 20/05/19 8:48am
Dustin Johnson was left to rue a disappointing last three holes after he was pipped to the PGA Championship title by his close friend Brooks Koepka.
Johnson began the final round seven shots adrift of his Ryder Cup team-mate, but he piled the pressure on the leader with an outward 32 before Koepka made four consecutive bogeys after the turn.
A birdie at the 15th from Johnson suddenly got him within one of the lead, but the former US Open champion then made crucial mistakes on the next two holes and could not save par on either.
He did manage to scramble a four at the last after carving his drive way right, but it was not enough to deny Koepka a two-shot victory and a successful defence of the Wanamaker Trophy.
"I knew if I could get off to a good start, which I did, that I could maybe put a little bit of pressure on him, and I did that too," said Johnson. "Just the last three holes is what got me.
"Walking off the 15th green and standing on the 16th fairway, I'm at eight under and I hit two really good shots there on 16, and I still don't know how my ball went over the green there. Obviously not a spot where you can go, but hit a great chip and a good putt, and made a five.
"I knew I needed to birdie one of the last two when I did that," added Johnson, who explained his surprise that he ended up over the back of the 16th green with a five-iron into a strong breeze from close to 200 yards.
"I had 194 to the hole, the wind was howling in my face a little bit off the right, and I actually almost went back and grabbed a four-iron because I didn't think the five was going to even come close, based on the shots that I've hit, earlier in the round, into the wind. The wind was just really eating the ball up when you're hitting it into it.
"So I tried to hit kind of like just a little low draw, and I hit the shot I wanted to right at the flag, but I just don't know how it flew 200 yards into the wind like that."
Johnson was the only man in the field to break par in all four rounds at Bethpage, and his performance all the encouragement he needs heading into the busiest part of the season.
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"I'm very pleased with the way I played," he said. "I feel like my game has been pretty good all year. This week, especially, I felt like I really, really played well tee-to-green.
"The first three days, I didn't make enough putts. I hit the ball plenty good enough to have been tied with Brooks going into Sunday, but I just didn't make enough putts.
"Today I felt like I rolled the putter a lot better. In these tough conditions, tough wind, even the putts that I missed looked like they were going in, and I hit the ball really well again today, too.
"So I'm pleased with where the game is at, and we've still got a lot of big tournaments left this year. I'm very happy with that."