Brooks Koepka's rivals playing for pride at USPGA as American remains record seven shots clear

James Corrigan
Overnight leader Brooks Koepka has extended his lead in the early holes on day three of the USPGA. - USA TODAY Sports

There was something resembling a wobble from Brooks Koepka here in the third round of the 101st USPGA Championship here yesterday; but nothing remotely like the capitulation his rivals need if the mighty American is not be crowned a four-time major-winner this evening.

Koepka began with a record seven-shot lead and closed with a record seven-shot lead and the fact that one of his nearest pursuers is world No 1 Dustin Johnson might give hope to the thrill-seekers looking a Long island long shot in the final round. Yet Koepka’s admirers - and after this exhibition their number should surely increase resoundingly - should and will have few worries of him successfully defending his Wanamaker Trophy. 

A few bogeys are inevitable at some stage at Bethpage Black and Koepka still managed to shrug off three blue figures and some indifferent putting to post a 70 to remain on 12-under. Barring a meltdown, the 29-year-old will become the first player ever to win the US Open and the USPGA back-to-back. And the fact Kopeka is aiming to achieve that in simultaneous years makes his potential glory all the more incredible.

After his 69 - which he believes “could not have been any higher” and put him alongside fellow US players Luke List and Harold Varner III and the 23-year-old Thai Jazz Janewattananond - Johnson expressed the opinion that it is not yet over. “It would take something remarkable to stop Brooks, but it is doable,” Johnson said. “This is such a tough course and if I can shoot a low one and he can make a few bogeys…”

Brave words and, to be fair, Koepka did bogey the ninth and 10th yesterday, the latter with a missed three-foot putt. But there were two birdies and no bogeys in his first eight holes and unless he has an aberration on the first nine, it could suck out the competitiveness of this Sunday in the early stages. That is general feeling in the locker room.

Koepka is on course to become the first player ever to win the US Open and the USPGA back-to-back Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Xander Schauffele summed up the resigned mood, despite shooting an excellent 68 to advance into the top 10 on three-under. "It's very melancholic, just because every time I look up, I'm 10 to 12 back,” the world No 9 said. “No one likes to play for second, but that's sort of what Brooks is doing to us. He's taken the tournament by the neck. I don't see him giving up.

“It is a weird thing. This is a major and everyone is here to win, but there's only one guy who's absolutely just destroying this place. So I'm sure Brooks is having a blast. But for the rest of us, he's making it awfully boring.”

After a 76, featuring nine bogeys, took him back to six-over, Phil Mickelson manfully tried to explain why Bethpage is the type of course where a player can be so dominant.  “I just have a lot of respect for Brooks and how hard he works,” Mickelson said.  “He's playing some fantastic golf. This really is not an easy test. But what's so great about the set-up is if you play well like Brooks, it does reward you. And if you hit some poor shots, like I did, it penalises pretty severely. So it gives a players a chance to have great separation.”

At least the fans managed to put some atmosphere into the procession, even if Koepka’s rivals largely failed. The New York crowd is very loud, especially by the end of long day near the many bars. On the 17th, Johnson felt obliged to put his finger to his mouth and ask the galleries to be silent for the shot of Australian Adam Scott. 

One of Koepka's nearest pursuers is world No 1 Dustin Johnson Credit: GETTY IMAGES

It was as forlorn as the attempt to overhaul Koepka and as the booze-fuelled boo-brigade carried on giving Scott a hard time, it was impossible not to let the mind adrift to 2024 when Bethpage will host the Ryder Cup. “That will be a loud week,” Fowler said, with a smirk.

If Matt Wallace maintains the same progress then he will be a mainstay of the Europe team by then and he should return with fine memories if his form holds up today. The 29-year-old from London has appended many achievements to his CV since graduating from the minor Tours two years ago, including five European Tour titles. But in the majors, he made only one cut in five attempts. 

In a tie for sixth on four-under following a 70, the minimum of Wallace’s ambition will be to better the 19th place in last year’s USPGA. “Even though Brooks is miles ahead, I’ve got to try to get as many rankings  points as possible, and that will give me confidence going into the rest of the year, and also the majors in the forthcoming years,” Wallace, the world 31, said.

It was not a good day for Wallace’s two countrymen Justin Rose and Tommy Fleetwood, who fell back into a tie for 16th respectively on level par after a 72 and 73 respectively. That is the same mark as Danny Willett, the 2016 Masters champion, who in contrast made strides forward with a 69. Rory McIlroy is two further back after a 69 and the world No 4 will be playing for pride today. But then, that will essentially seem the way for everyone not named Koepka.

11:58PM

Closing thoughts

So that's your lot. Our head golfing man James Corrigan will be along shortly with an 'on the whistle' report.

They came to Bethpage on Saturday to see if brooks Koepka would continue to monster the course in record breaking style, or suffer one of golf's biggest collapses. In the end, it was neither. Nerve was held, fairways were found, par was leveled. A rare blip at the turn, consecutive dropped shots for the first time, was quickly shrugged off. Just as Koepka looked like he might wobble, so the likes of Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson and faltered too.

Koepka goes into Sunday seven shots clear, just as he went into Saturday. It'll take something remarkable to overhaul him from here. 

Thanks for your company.

11:52PM

Last hole of the day

Here we go then. Brooks Koepka, seven ahead, rips into a final tee shot of the day, plum centre of the eighteenth fairway. Spieth, needless to say, does not. He's in Tommy Fleetwood country.

Tremendous escape shot from Spieth, getting it up and onto the favourable part of the green from where he may yet save an outrageous birdie.  Koepka plops his down right next to Spieth's, albeit from a more favourable fairway spot.

Spieth didn't quite have it within him to find the birdie, but he'll take a par after a difficult day. Round of 72, +2. Inside the top ten, but he's fallen away.

Koepka has also come up short and will roll in for a par. That's all he needs. After record smashing Thursday and Friday, and a huge lead overnight, all he needed today was a composed round with no explosions. He's done that, level for the day, -12 overall, seven shots clear.

Harold Varner III, who will be in the final group tomorrow, tells Sky that as soon as the interview is over he's going back to his room to play Call Of Duty. Ask your kids.

Handsome lead.

11:41PM

Johnson drops a shot at the death

Spieth hates his tee shot at 17, and he's right to hate it - miles off to the right and into the sand. Koepka goes much safer, into the middle of the green to the left of the flag.

Spieth comes within a whisker of chipping in. Par saved. Koepka's first putt isn't up to much and leaves him plenty to chew on to avoid a three putt and dropped shot. 

Dustin Johnson taking the Luke List route to the 18, from one bunker to the next. Fails to find the green with shot three, and a very decent round could be unraveling a bit here.

Fourth shot is good, fifth is a tap in, but it's an annoying dropped shot to finish with and move him not only to -5 but also out of the final group tomorrow as it stands. Harold Varner III, from nowhere, currently in place to partner Koepka on Sunday.

Harold Varner III stages a late run to move into second.

11:31PM

Koepka drops a shot at 16

Not for the first time today, Dustin Johnson is too long on 17. His second is chipped to within knock-in range so that's another par. He's in the bunker off the tee at the eighteenth though.

Luke List out of one bunker on 18 finds another. Wallace is in better shape though, knocking a nice one into the middle of the green to the left of the flag. He'll have half a chance to finish on a birdie three.

List's second bunker shot offers a fourth for salvation from eight feet. A miss. Real shame, lost two shots on the final two hole having been Koepka's closest challenger on -7 at one point.

Koepka's second from the light rough at 16 finds the green. Spieth's does not. Koepka doesn't quite get that first putt as close as he might like so there's an awkward one to come. Spieth misses his par putt and goes back to -3. Koepka misses too, a shot gone, now -12 heading to 17.

Somebody is yelling about Brussels sprouts.

Luke List heads up to the eighteenth tee.

11:17PM

Tidying up

Koepka's reward for that chunky approach to fifteen is another par. Two gnat's chest hairs away from a birdie. Dustin Johnson also settles for par at 16 after a near miss.

Spieth escapes with a par, picked up a couple of shots in the last four holes so he's back to -4.

Matt Wallace pars 17 and then finds the middle of the fairway at 18.

We're nearly there people. I'm saying that more to myself than you guys if I'm honest. Just caught a glimpse of the Eurovision coverage without sound - what on earth is going on, isn't it usually vote time by now?

Spieth feeling a bit better about life.

11:10PM

Brute force

Luke List on -7 at 17 plays a really aggressive tee shot to try and get to -8 but it's not gone well for him at the par three and it will be a challenge to save par from wide right of the green. 

Possibly an understatement actually - the resulting chip isn't close and there's going to be a shot going here.

Back at fifteenth, Adam Scott has a downhill birdie putt that he's made rather the pig's ear of. Tidies up for par.

Kopeka went to the left, into the thick rough, on that hole but has just put his whole weight behind a second and grunted it up onto the green. Brutish. 

Dustin Johnson's second to 16 is on line but short. He's well in two-putt range. 

Spieth, remember him? +1 for the day and in all manner of sandy problems at 15.

11:00PM

Arm's length 

Koepka at the 163-yard par three fourteenth plants his tee shot firmly in the middle of the green. The putt comes up short but on a hole that has claimed casualties today he'll take that par all day long. He's -13 heading for the fifteenth.

Already playing that hole, Johnson chips in close and could pick up another shot with a three.

An outstanding second shot into the eighteenth sets Janewattananond up for a birdie to finish a lovely round of golf. Sinks it. Five birdies, two dropped shots, finishes -5.

Luke List at 17 misses a challenging putt to the left to go to -8, stays -7.

Johnson is in for a three at 15 as we suspected, -6. Wallace recovers a par four at 16, -4. Harold Varner III finishes with an excellent round of 67 to put him on -5.

Dustin Johnson keeping pace.

10:46PM

Koepka goes six ahead again

Having gone into the woods off the tee, then into the rough with the second, Koepka has chipped up to the green and birdied the 13. Lead back out to six.

10:44PM

Koepka taking the scenic route at 13

Koepka has gone very, very right on the thirteenth. Plenty of trees and scurrying spectators down that side. He has a line to the green, no obstructions, and drills it out to within wedging distance. If that's a word. Spellcheck says it is.

Janewattananond's nightmare sixteenth may yet have a happy ending as he chips out of the front bunker to within striking distance of a par. Can he salvage it? He can indeed. Well done young lad.

On the fourteenth, Dustin Johnson has overshot the green by some considerable distance. Wrong club to the tune of about 20 yards. All manner of television tower fun to cope with when he gets up there. 

Matt Wallace has just played one of the shots of the day to put him within easy reach of a birdie and -4 at the fifteenth. He's delighted with it as well, big celebration as it drops in.

Back at Dustin Johnson's personal nightmare, it's taken him three to reach the green and the fourth isn't a gimme by any means. He makes it though, -5. Janewattananond drops one at 17, -2 for the day and -4 for the week.

10:30PM

Luke List makes a move

Treated myself to a little walk to the bathroom there. Approaching hour seven of our coverage. Hello? Is this thing on?

Brooks Koepka's second shot into the 12 after a perfect tee shot attacks the flag back left and is right on the money. As is Spieth's, although we only know that because the ball was already there - we seem to have ceased coverage of his round. Koepka comes close to a birdie, settles for a par, moves onto the par five thirteenth.

Janewattananond went into the crowd with his first shot at 16, and then pulled up short and in some difficulty with his second. Luke List has come in to -6, and rolls in a third consecutive birdie on the fourteenth to make that -7. He's second now, five off the leader.

Spieth birdies 12 to stem the bleeding and get back to -3.

I can't even begin to describe where Tommy Fleetwood is on 18. Chipping out of some form of wasteground. Does save a par four though.

Luke List joins the party with three straight birdies

10:16PM

Johnson back on track

Koepka gets a lucky break off the bank to the left of the green at 11 and now has a long put for birdie. He misses that right and after the missed sitter at nine and consecutive dropped shots he won't be looking forward to that fourth shot coming back.

Dustin Johnson gets back on track with a birdie at 12, back to -6. If Koepka does miss then the lead is just, "just", five.

Koepka doesn't miss. Still -12, still six in front.

Janewattananond, at the notoriously difficult 15th, belts one straight up the middle off the tee. Second into the rough off the green leaves a difficult third though.

Jazz hands.

10:09PM

Chasers fail to take advantage of rare Koepka slip

Janewattananond joins those having a stumble, bogey at 14 back to -5. Just as Koepka leaves the door slightly ajar for the first time this week, the chasing pack have all started wobbling as well. There's a suggestion that the searing afternoon sun is baking these greens into a mean state.

Ah, but that's much better from Johnson, who's slap bang in the middle of the green at 12 after two great shots. And Adam Scott, who's been missing short putts all afternoon, but suddenly rolls in a long one at 11 for a birdie.

10:03PM

Consecutive dropped shots for the leader

Tenth not going well for Koepka initially. He goes right off the tee, then skews it out to the bunker on the left. His third shot leaves plenty to do to save par and prevent back to back dropped shots for the first time this week... Can't do it. Goes back to -12 at the turn.

Dustin Johnson has also gone a bit ragged over the last couple of holes. Drops back to -5 with another bogey at 11. That leaves Janewattananond on his own in second on -6, what a day he's had. Bit tentative at 13 when a birdie was there for the taking though.

9:51PM

Johnson drops one

Dustin Johnson is still trying to escape from ten without dropping a shot after having to chip out with his second shot. A brilliant third seemed like the hard work had been done but he's missed from inches away with the fourth. Back to -6.

Adam Scott's patchy round continues with a drive into the bunkers on the other side of the tenth fairway. Not a bad second from there, just to the right of the green, but his third is a bit of a state.

Fleetwood is -2 on the 15th, chipping out sideways from big trouble off to the right. He'll have 20 feet for par. Justin Rose goes -3 with a birdie at 12 thanks to a monstrous putt of nearly twice that distance.

At the ninth, Koepka is on the front of the green with his second shot. Spieth sends his spurting through the back of the green into the bunker, stamps his foot and swears at himself.

From there he's on the green, but that's about all you can say. Can't salvage a four, might actually end up with a six after putting a good distance past the hole... Yup, a six. Nightmare.

Koepka, meanwhile, has actually bogeyed. From two feet away. All the way around the hole and out again. Back to -13.

This is not helping. 

9:35PM

Pars again at the eighth 

Koepka goes slightly right on the par three eight, and is chipping out of thick stuff. Spieth has taken the wrong club out of the bag, way short. They'd both take par from here if offered I'm sure.

Koepka will go first... Kind lie... He's nearly chipped it in. Absolute monster. Simple three from there.

Spieth faced with an extremely long putt with his second shot. He'll need to fire this out of a cannon from down there... Gets it to within a foot, superb effort. 

Adam Scott didn't get his birdie at eight despite a magnificent tee shot. 

Dustin Johnson goes -7, clear in second, with an outstanding tee, approach and putt for a birdie at nine. Not a good tee shot at ten though, into a fairway bunker off to the right.

Jazz Jane's having a whale of a time meanwhile, bang in the middle of the twelfth and -4 for the day. 

Matching each other at eight.

9:28PM

Shot for shot at seven

Spieth, once again, follows a great tee shot with a lousy second at the seventh. Brooks has disappeared into the woods.

Ah, here he is. Not too bad actually, in that he can see the hole, but it squirts out of the thick stuff, takes one bounce off the green and then sets off into the crowd behind the green at speed. Somebody could be killed to death.

From there, it's another chip, his third shot, and that's within ten feet which he'll have for an escape at par. Spieth faces similar, after a poor second shot and then sluggish first putt.

Elsewhere a dreadful putt from Adam Scott bogied seven, then he's not a million miles away from a hole in one at eight.

Here we go then, Koepka... par saved. Used all the hole but not a problem for him. Stays -14. Spieth, who looked in great shape off the tee, just about squeaks away with a four.

Never in doubt, just fancied a walk.

9:17PM

Brucey bonus

Ah, Kopeka is human. Drills a big tee shot at the seventh deep into the forest. He'll have to leave breadcrumbs to find his way back from there. Spieth finds the fairway - dull, no sense of adventure.

Speaking of which, Phil Mickelson pars the 18th to finish +6. His round has been ridiculous. Nine bogies, three birdies, six pars. Covered every blade of grass, every grain of sand, every tree, every drop zone. Three and a half hours of autograph signing will be followed by a light lunch.

9:10PM

Fours all round at the sixth

Nice looking tee shots from both Spieth and Koepka at the sixth, but that's not unusual so far. What Spieth needs to do is hold that level of quality for the approach.

Spieth goes first, on a slight downslope, in the first cut of rough. Takes on the flag, gets the spin he needs, best shot of his round so far, stops around three feet away. Incredible given the lie and stance. Kopeka's is decent as well, naturally. What, twelve feet away? Downhill of the hole.

Spieth's approach actually lipped out of being a two on the slow motion replay. You think he'll roll in for a three and pick up a shot but he snatches at it and pars. Koepka missed his birdie attempt as well so it's fours all round.

Molinari did indeed birdie the last, a round of 73 and +3 overall. Another birdie chance for his Ryder Cup teammate Tommy Fleetwood slides by at 11. Janewattananond sinks his to go joint second on -6.

Only just noticed that Matt Wallace has got a Powerplay bib on (other five-a-side providers are available), presumably to prevent a kit clash with his playing partner.

Come on ref, do we really need bibs?

8:58PM

Johnson's first misstep 

Dustin Johnson is in for another birdie at the sixth to move to -7, closing the gap on the leader to just the six shots. It's on. It's on I'm telling you. Haven't you been watching the Champions League? And the play-offs? Listen to me... Oh, wait, he's put it wide. Still on -6. Forget that.

Two holes back, that pattern of perfect tee shot followed by difficult second repeats for Spieth who plugs in a bunker and it's all he can do to get out and down for a bogie. 

Koepka rubs salt in that wound with a beautiful shot right at the flag. Chance to go -14 at the fifth, which he takes - two shot swing to Koepka who now leads by eight. Eight.

Kelly Kraft, the rank outsider, managed to bogey the fourth, which even I could par (no I won't prove it) but is hanging in there on +1 for the day and -3 for the week. Superb stuff from the world no.192.

Franceso Molinari has not had the third day he'd have wanted, but he's played a super little approach into 18 and he walks up the final fairway +4 but with a chance to claw one back.

Brooks on the approach.

8:44PM

Both recover for par

Spieth's chipped third at the fourth isn't close, so it's looking like a par for him from there. Koepka delicately out of the sand, with the ball above his feet, ends up much the same. 

Spieth's birdie attempt isn't bad actually, but he's left to roll in from close range for a fourth par in four holes. Koepka couldn't really have gone any closer, but it doesn't drop and he's -13 ahead of Johnson on -6.

8:38PM

Poor second shots trouble Spieth and Koepka at the fourth

At the par five fourth, Koepka gets all of his tee shot, but it's slightly left and in the first cut of rough. Spieth's is much better, carrying the bunkers and landing in the middle of the fairway. Both players in good shape.

Spieth's second is a horror, off to the left. I think he might have escaped with some sort of a lie but he recoiled as soon as the shot was on its way. Koepka's isn't much better, takes a nine iron when it should have been an eight, and he's in the sand. They're both there in two mind.

Dustin Johnson at the fifth, meanwhile, plays a very aggressive approach shot to a pin that is tucked away well to the left and not visible to the players as they take their second shots. It's fantastic, bang on, and he's making a big move. Birdie putt slides wide though, -6 he stays.

Adam Scott's long eagle attempt at four isn't bad, leaves him a birdie chance which he takes. Jane pars the seventh from close range, he's -5.

Justin Rose missed that birdie put at six by the way. Rickie Fowler, who we haven't seen much of, is back to level for the day and -2 overall with a rare three at the tenth.

Mickelson's card looks like the dog got hold of it as it came through the letterbox but he birdies 14 to come back to +4.

Spieth in recovery mode once more.

 

8:29PM

Spieth falters through three

Koepka's tee shot at the par three third looks great, but gets caught in the wind. Still fine mind. Spieth tries to go under said breeze, doesn't get it at all, and it's in the rough/bunker at the front of the green.

Not the happiest start for Jordan and in fact Dustin Johnson has moved ahead of him into second on -6 with a four at the fourth. Three birdies in the first four holes.

Spieth chips out of the sand and has work to do... Holes from eight feet, remains on -5. Koepka pars with a nice, steady two putt - -13.

Adam Scott, having saved pars from poor tee shots at one and two, isn't so lucky at three and drops back to -4. There he finds live blogging nightmare Jazz Janewattananond, who's now -3 today and -5 for the tournament after a fast start - for the good of my mental health hopefully he drops away from there. Would you forgive me going with 'Jane' for the rest of the night?

Justin Rose, at the par four sixth, chips to birdie-able range. 

Spieth recovers from the sand.

8:17PM

Koepka extends lead

Koepka steams his tee shot on the second straight down the middle. Spieth does likewise with a three wood. They'll approach the 30 ft elevation up to the green from the perfect spots.

Koepka goes first and, as at the first, plays the perfect approach shot which gives him a six foot putt for birdie.

Spieth catches his one really heavy, hates it as soon as it leaves the club, and barely makes the green. His first putt leaves him with a fiddly one for par and he'll go again - three shots since Koepka last took one... Tentatively rolled in for a par. 

Koepka, from six feet, birdies the second and is now eight clear.

Elsewhere, Justin Rose, on the easiest hole on the course (fourth), three putts and bogies. Sloppy stuff. He does, however, hole a very difficult fifteen footer to save par at the fifth.

Adam Scott's wobbly start sees him playing out of the rough on two, just as he did on one, and go into the sand. He does well to salvage another par.

Dustin Johnson started with a birdie at the first, a bogie at the second, and has now birdied the third. 

Tommy Fleetwood was in trouble off the tee at seven, got himself to within striking distance of a par, but left the putt short. His putter has been stone cold so far today which is a real shame because some of his approach work has been bob on.

Like a machine.

8:02PM

Koepka misses early birdie chance

Spieth plays a steady, safe second into the first leaving him a twenty footer. Koepka doesn't even really wait for Spieth's ball to stop moving before he steps up and drops his approach to within ten feet. Great chance to move eight ahead straight away.

While we wait to see what happens there let me just tidy up that Berger and Scott both recovered from their contrasting starts to the first to save a par apiece. The hole actually needed some running repairs after that fluke Berger approach shot.

 Amazingly, Koepka has actually pulled his putt and missed the chance of a birdie. It's a par anyway, and he's still seven clear, but after the first two days I think we all assumed that was just going to drop in. Spieth pars as well, rolling his long ranger for three to tap in distance. 

7:53PM

Koepka starts his round

Berger's second to the first rattles the flag, and bounces well away. While he curses his luck, Scott chases one out of the rough to the front of the green. 

Dustin Johnson goes left off the tee at the second leaving him a tough second shot, albeit on the shortest par four on the course. 

Jordan Spieth and the overnight leader Brooks Koepka, winner of this tournament in 2018, are now on the first and ready to get going. Koepka goes first and although the shot tracer thinks it's heading off into the woods, it's actually perfect and gives him a real chance of picking up a shot straight off the bat. Spieth bends it entirely the other way and it comes to rest at the border between two types of rough.

First picture of the Rose shirt has landed on the newsdesk. Octopus? What fool said that? They're pineapples actually. Of course they are.

Do those look like octopuses to you?

7:46PM

A handbag?

Kelly Kraft has had a bit of a touch at the first. His wayward tee shot into the crowd went in somebody's handbag which counts as a drop and he now has a good lie and a clear line to the green. Second shot does indeed find the top tier so he should escape with a par. Dustin Johnson starts with a birdie.

Penultimate group features Australia's Adam Scott, the big mover yesterday, getting underway -5. He's into the light rough down the left. Daniel Berger -4 has a fade that suits the first and he finds the fairway to an absolutely side-splittingly hilarious scream of "Bergers for everyone!". How do they think them up?

Mickelson, exploring every inch of the golf course as per, has two successive bogies to start the back nine so he's +2 now. 

Xander Schauffele is an impressive -3 for the day and has moved onto page one. 

We'll be back right after that slinky has done Jungle Boogie. Again.

7:34PM

All the way from Jupiter

Right, I'm back, bit of lie down. Dustin Johnson - who's from Jupiter apparently, long way to travel - teeing off at the first.

Kelly Kraft, ranked 192 in the world but kicking off -4 here, aims to follow the par and birdie he's managed on the opening hole so far this week but he's stuck it in the crowd down the left.

Rose, however he's dressed, birdied the first and is the first player to make a move on the first page of the leaderboard today.

Kucher pars ten and 11, he's level for the day and heading for his third 70 of the week. 

Two groups left to start.

Phil still having a lovely old time of it.

7:16PM

Fleetwood missing chances, Rose in fancy dress

One of the shots of the day so far from Tommy Fleetwood off the tee at the third, surely a first birdie of the day for the Brit there a she drops it to within a couple of feet. Gorgeous. 

Not far off perfection from Fowler at four either, a long drawn out affair from the edge of the green slides just to the right of the hole. Pars the course.

Justin Rose about to get his round underway in a shirt your kids would immediately send you back upstairs to change out of. I think they're fish? No, on second glance they're octopuses/octopi. Sort of electric blue and flaccid, thousands of them, on a dark blue background. They've mesmerized me so much I completely missed where his shot went.

Fleetwood, meanwhile, missed that putt at the third. Two big chances for birdies in the first three holes passed up. Approach shots good, short game about as good as mine at the moment.

Commercial break. I don't know anything about it but if everybody's offering to boost your "mental accas" doesn't that just make it the price? Like when your flight is delayed and the pilot says he can make up some time en route? Surely that's just the way then? Go that way every time and we'll get there quicker.

Sorry, that Rose shirt has cooked my brain. 

Tommy Fleetwood on piano.

7:01PM

Koepka ready to go

I haven't mentioned Tyrrell Hatton yet but he could have turned around level but for a missed birdie opportunity at nine followed by a classy yell of "come on, what we paying for?"

Mickelson for a birdie at eight pulls up short. Fowler attempting to fade a tee shot at four lands it plum in the centre of the fairway. 

Oooh, Brooks has arrived, leading by seven, dressed all in black, swooping onto the golf course like the Death Star. 

Tyrrell Hatton misses narrowly.

6:53PM

Fleetwood starts round

Ah Tommy Fleetwood is out and about, looking like the piano player from The Muppet Show. Straight at the pin on the second but it doesn't catch a break and drop. Missed the putt too so he has to settle for a par four.

Difficult start for Rickie Fowler continues with a bogie at two, having been fortunate to save par at one. 

6:40PM

Golf happens

Rory finishes with with a creditable 69. Good front nine, patchy back nine.

Fowler saves a par on the first after spraying it right off the tee. Playing partner Matsuyama  gets a birdie.

Where's Big Phil going now? Second shot to the sixth looks sandy. Out of the bunker to about 12 feet away, tricky par to save there, and he doesn't manage it so he's +1 now. Two birdies, three bogies, one par in the first six, all set to a background din that sounds like it's coming from a troop of escaped zoo gibbons. 

Rich Beem, who shot 82 today, says: "Golf happens". And you can't disagree with that.

6:27PM

Making chances, taking chances

So Mickelson has hacked out of the rough that comes after the deep rough and he is at least on the fifth green now in three. Chance of a rare par goes begging though. Zach Johnson also drops a shot there.

Molinari slides a birdie opportunity wide from close range at six. Danny Willett picks up a shot at nine though, he's -1 overall.

Jason Day, weird and wonderful round, not far away from a long birdie attempt at the last but he settles for par, finishes -1 for the day and +2 for the tournament. 

6:22PM

Trouble at the fifth

Mickelson is shouting fore at the fifth, but it's not that far left, relatively speaking. His second though, that really has gone off into the swampy wilds. Zach Johnson goes straight down the middle, but then finds a greenside bunker with his second. Those two are going to be there a while.

McIlroy's five iron off the tee at 17 goes very close, big birdie chance there for him.

Rickie Fowler, dressed as a bottle of Pepto-Bismol, gets his round underway with a shot to the right off the first tee. Matsuyama much straighter and truer with his opening shot.

6:11PM

Mickelson makes vintage start

Mickelson has just driven in excess of 310 yards at the fourth, now lands an approach shot at the back of the green and will have a long eagle attempt. Just wide. So a birdie, par, bogie and birdie to start the day - vintage Mickelson. 

Zach Johnson has also hit two monster shots at the fourth, but the second has run away to the TV tower and an attempt to extricate it from there has not gone well. A fourth shot is chipped to third and inches so he'll escape with par but it's a hole that's giving up shots today so that's a missed chance.

Olesen's approach to the sixteenth runs past the hole to leave a birdie attempt, but he slides it wide. McIlroy attempts to follow suit but he's short, and will putt uphill across about 20 feet.

5:53PM

Do a little dance

A birdie at the second for Mickelson, then off into the woods in wild style at the third amid an absolute barrage of moronic screams and hoots. Hacks out, chips back, bogie four.

An eagle at the fourth for Bjerregaard (copied and pasted the last time I mentioned him). Finau does the same, and celebrates with a dad dance.

Day, somehow, at the fifteenth, gets to within five feet for a remarkable par. Then misses the putt.

Rich Beem double bogies 18 to finish +16. Amazing to make the cut on the mark with 30 on the back nine yesterday, but a bit of a horror show today for the veteran. 

McIlroy misses another great birdie putt chance at 15.

And with that, we break to hear more from Mr Kriss Akabusi. 

5:45PM

Day's great adventure

Molinari has had a nightmare start to the day with two bogies to move +2 but he's rattled in one from miles away at three to claw a shot back.

Day is all over the map at 15. Hacking out form underneath a television tower to goodness only knows where. Check your back garden you might find him there looking for it. Such a shame after a great fourteenth.

McIlroy being trolled by the cup at 14 now, all the way round, halfway in, and back out again for a bogie. Bit of everything in this round for Rory. 

5:34PM

From the sublime to the ridiculous

Jason Day about as close to a hole in one without getting one as possible at the par three fourteenth. Lands it stone dead, a couple of feet away.  Birdie there to go +1. All that good work swiftly undone when he selects power drive rather than feather touch at the fifteenth tee. Ball is in: parking lot. 

Sam Burns birdies six, seven and nine to go to -1.

Phil Mickelson isn't so fortunate from long range at the first, fiddly one to save par there.  Playing partner Zach Johnson replicates it from the opposite side of the green.

5:23PM

Molinari makes a mess at the first

Noise from the crowd tells you it's Matt Kuchar about to start his round, stepping up at the first level par. Beautiful shot to begin with, faded around the trees to the right for the perfect approach spot. That sets up a birdie putt which he makes.

Ahead of him Molinari makes a horrible start, missing a relatively simple putt to the right on the first for an opening bogie.

Jason Day misses a long ranger for a birdie at 13. Stays +2. I'd tell you what Rich Beem is up to, but it would be intruding on personal grief.

Webb Simpson lips one out at the fourth for a three putt and par, big missed opportunity. 

5:10PM

McIlroy approach woes continue

Pardon me while we sit through some odd tourism video promoting New York golf courses. Back at the real quiz...

Bjerregaard (my word I hope I'm not going to have to type that all night) follows Casey's lead, and almost exact line, with a birdie at the opening hole.

Rory McIlroy is continuing his pattern of following a perfect tee shot with a lousy second attempt at 12. A chipped third gets to within four feet so that should be fine for a par, but this isn't a course that's going to be too forgiving to ongoing wayward approach shots.

And excuse me a moment while I do a little celebratory lap of the newsroom as Hull FC hang on for a surprise win at Warrington.

4:54PM

Paul Casey starts with a birdie

Jason Day saved his par at the eleventh with a superb twelve footer. His tee shot at 12 is met with an enormous "let's go JD" from one of the hard of thinking.

First look at Danny Willett today, +1, pitches to within nine inches of the hole with his second at the first.

McIlroy lets out an enormous witch-like cackle as his second at the eleventh skews left off the club face and finds sand for the second hole in a row. John Bercow-like there with the sound effects. Chips out of a dire lie, ten or eleven feet to come, another rescue job in process.

Rich Beem (+12) half an inch from a birdie from three quarters of a mile away at fourteen.

Paul Casey comes flying out of the traps with a superb putt and birdie at the first to go level. Aaron Wise does the same at the fourth.

Paul Casey starts the day in fine form.

4:41PM

Dahmen misses big chance at four

Two great shots from Finau at nine did indeed set him up for a birdie there to get him back to +4.

Joel Dahmen (+2) at the fourth, fierce attempt at an eagle from 20 feet, left the flag in for a reason but misses to the right and he's now got a good six or seven feet coming back the other way for a birdie. Misses that as well, chance goes begging.

McIlroy in the sand at the front of ten, chips out reasonably well but an awkward putt there to save par. Misses, back to +1.

Olesen +3 also dropped a shot at ten having birdied nine, now teeing off at the eleventh which has more sand than Mablethorpe beach. 

4:30PM

Day takes the circuitous route

McIlroy pars the ninth to go out in 32 and stay at level par.

Jason Day magnificent shot off the tee at ten but then gets his approach to the green all wrong and he's off and away into the weeds on the left.

Rich Beem's day continues to unravel, though it's not a bad recovery shot from deep in the sand at 12 - +10.

Tony Finau (+5) hits  a brilliant approaching second shot into nine and he has a big chance for birdie there.

Called Day wrong actually, plugged in a bunker rather than the jungle, and he's chipped out to within a couple of inches so may yet get a par.

Justin Rose has arrived in a shirt that screams British dad at the beach.

McIlroy clawing his way back.

4:19PM

McIlroy back level

The Ulsterman made that birdie to get back to even par and has smoked his drive at the ninth.

Jason Day uses all the hole to birdie nine, he's +2 despite an earlier eagle at four. Described as the easiest hole on the gold course - like to see you have a go.

4:09PM

Early starters

Among the early starters out on the course, Rich Beem made the cut with five birdies in the last six holes on Friday but is +5 through ten on day three for +9 overall.

Rory McIlroy had a similarly brilliant back nine to make the weekend, has already eagled the fourth today and now has a birdie chance at seven. He's -2 for the day and +1 for the tournament.

4:02PM

Hello, good evening and welcome...

No, you forgot it was Eurovision tonight and volunteered to work. Nothing to do with me. Ok, I confess, I'm weak like that.

Anyway, who needs aggressive Polish butter maids provocatively churning to Europop when you've got golf? Pure golf. Eight hours of the stuff. Tiger Woods missed the cut, so we might get to see some of the other players in between the Ray Winstone adverts.

The procession and subsequent coronation of Brooks Koepka, seven clear overnight after day two and looking for a fourth major win from his last eight, begins imminently and we'll (I'll) be here with you for the duration. Let's golf.

Overnight leader/champion elect Brooks Koepka tearing it up.