“I like the way I finished that off. Hit a lot quality golf shots down the stretch. I haven’t been in contention in God knows how long, so to actually hit golf shots like I’m accustomed to seeing when the pressure is on, it’s a good feeling,” Koepka said. “I miss that pressure, I miss the atmosphere, the fans. I mean, my best results come with fans, so I’m excited to have them back.”
In addition to his struggles over the past 18 months, Koepka has also dealt with criticism that he doesn’t care about PGA TOUR events and only goes after it in the majors, but he can put that chatter to rest after winning for the second time at TPC Scottsdale.
“I love this place,” he said. “This golf course is always fun. Just happy to make a cut. Put it that way. It feels good.”
When asked if he felt like he was 100%, he responded “I do feel like I’m back. I felt like I’ve been back. Been in some dark places for about a year and a half, so it’s nice to finally come and see some results.”
Koepka began the day five shots behind another multiple major winner Jordan Spieth, who dominated the headlines on Saturday with a third round 61 to tie Xander Schauffele for the 54-hole lead.
Spieth opened the day with a bogey after his sizzling Saturday and the Dallas native, who is winless since capturing his third major at the 2017 Open Championship, wound up in a tie for fourth place.
“Tough start, and then, you know, I needed to one-putt the last two to not have more than 36 putts today. Felt like I hit good putts, and as much as the lid was open other days, it was closed today,” Spieth said. “That’s just it. Swing-wise it felt the same as the last couple days, so progressing, but clearly not an A game. But enough to be able to stay in and hit some greens and give myself some chances. And, man, today I just couldn’t hit them hard enough.”
World No. 4 Schauffele tied for second after a birdie on No. 18 to follow up his runner-up finish last week at Torrey Pines.
“It is what it is. Just going to try and lick my wounds. I think Brooks is a great example for me. He hasn’t been in great form, missed few cuts, and comes out and wins,” Schauffele said. “So there is something to that, something to his recipe, and he’s definitely figured it out.
Rory McIlory, playing in the event for the first time, tied for 13th in a group that included Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm, six shots behind Koepka.