Trailing by one stroke entering the third round of the CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges, it seemed like it would be a matter of time before Brooks Koepka reached the top of the leaderboard.
Of course, with only one PGA Tour victory to his name that isn’t a major championship, there were no guarantees. However, Koepka, who will ascend to the world No. 1 ranking should he win this week or finish in solo second place (assuming Justin Thomas isn’t the player who wins, which is unlikely considering JT is eight shots back) made quick work of overtaking 36-hole leader Scott Piercy on Saturday.
.@BKoepka has grown and matured as a top golfer while travelling all over the world (mainly with the Challenge Tour & European Tour). So it would be fitting if he is to become world No.1 while playing again far away from home. This is where he reached the main #OWGR landmarks… pic.twitter.com/cbRZuNvM37
— Nosferatu (@VC606) October 20, 2018
While Piercy was trading birdies for bogeys, Koepka parred his first eight holes before birdieing 9 and 10 to take the lead. Piercy would struggle to a 1-over par back nine and even-par round to post 9-under par through 54-holes, but Koepka, spurred on by the two birdies around the turn would open up a four-stroke lead over Piercy and the rest of the pack.
The closing kick was jumpstarted by his mammoth drive on the 353-yard par-4 14 hole. With just a one-stroke lead at the time, Koepka flew his tee shot 330 yards to the front of the par-4 green and two-putted for his birdie.
This hole is 330 yards to the front.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) October 20, 2018
Koepka would go on to birdie 17 and 18 as well to put a bow on a bogey-free 5-under par 67.
If it weren’t for Koepka, there would be a great Sunday of golf shaping up on Jeju Island. The same four-stroke margin Koepka holds over the field equals the margin between the second and 20th golfer in the field.
Among those hoping to track down Koepka on Sunday are Ian Poulter and Piercy at 9-under par and Gary Woodland, Pat Perez, Jamie Lovemark, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Chez Reavie and Cameron Smith at 8-under par.