Horror back nine costs Danny Willett great result at USPGA Championship
A disastrous back nine denied Danny Willett the chance for his best finish in a Major since his Masters triumph as his USPGA Championship campaign ended in disappointment.
Heading into the back nine on the final day at Bethpage Black, the Sheffield golfer was well placed in a tie for 11th.
Since winning The Masters in 2016, Willett’s best Major championship finish was a tie for 24th in last year’s Open.
And that will remain the case after he played the back nine in six over par to slip down the leaderboard to a tie for 41st.
It was a disappointing conclusion to what had looked set to be Willett’s best performance of the year to date.
He entered the final round of a taxing week at Bethpage on level par where less than ten golfers finished under par for the tournament.
But after negotiating the first eight holes on two under par, a triple bogey on nine was only the start of his struggles with a double bogey and four bogeys following.
His finish would put him alongside fellow Sheffield golfer Matt Fitzpatrick, who also ended the weekend on seven over par.
A brilliant 65 on Friday was unfortunately sandwiched between rounds of 75 and 76 before a final day 71 ensured a decent finish.
Fitzpatrick too was left to bemoan a disappointing finish after carding three bogeys on the final five holes.
It would ultimately be a more interesting final day than expected in the year’s second major.
Brooks Koepka looked to have the tournament sewn up before the start of the fourth round as he sat on a seven shot lead with the rest of the field well back.
But he stuttered while fellow American, world number one Dustin Johnson surged, bringing the lead down to one shot at one stage in the afternoon.
But Koepka steadied the ship late on while Johnson faltered, handing29-year-old Koepka his third Major and a successful defence of his USPGA title.