Breaking down the contenders heading into final round of PGA Championship


ST. LOUIS — Brooks Koepka’s in the driver’s seat, Tiger Woods is in the rearview and a bunch of other top talents are pursuing the Wanamaker Trophy heading into the final round of the 100th edition of the PGA Championship.

Koepka, who won the last two playings of the U.S. Open, holds a 2-shot lead heading into Sunday’s final round at Bellerive Country Club. The massively muscled Floridian has clearly been the best player through 54 holes and is in prime position to join Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen as the only players to win the U.S. Open and the PGA in the same year.

But 10 players are within four shots of Koepka, including six major champions, one of them being Woods, winner of 14 majors.

With Bellerive on the soft side, birdies should be aplenty, so the makings for a shootout are there.

Here is the breakdown of the top of the leaderboard and the chances for victory for each player.

Brooks Koepka: 69-63-66, 12 under. 45 percent implied probability to win.

He has pummeled the golf ball and thumped Bellerive, grabbing the lead early in the third round and never relinquishing it. The back-to-back winner of the U.S. Open relishes the heat of the moment. Overlooked putting prowess.

Adam Scott: 70-65-65, 10 under. 11.1 percent chance.

Hasn’t been in this position for a long time, but the 2013 Masters champion has a lot of good memories to call upon. One of the game’s best ball-strikers, putting has been his bugaboo. Look out if he gets the flat stick to cooperate.

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Rickie Fowler: 65-67-69, 9 under. 11.1 percent chance.

He keeps knocking on the door. Huge Sunday run at the Masters fell just one shot shy. Outstanding putter, cool under pressure as big stages have never bothered him. Ready to win first major.

Jon Rahm: 68-67-66, 9 under. 8.3 percent chance.

Trending in the right direction by the looks of the scorecards. Plenty of firepower, he can overpower any course. If he keeps his emotions in control, he can certainly win his maiden major.

Gary Woodland: 64-66-71, 9 under. 5.3 percent chance.

The 36-hole leader had an adventure in the bunkers on the 10th, playing from the sand on three occasions. That has been his only bothersome spot this week. Has never had a top-10 in a major. He gets his first this week. Could get first major title, too.

Tiger Woods: 70-66-66, 8 under. 6.7 percent chance.

Oh, what could have been. Ice-cold putter on the back nine in the third round kept him from the final group. His return to the game after spinal fusion surgery has been remarkable and he’s been in position to win on five previous occasions. His best work this week has been on the front nine, so if he gets off to another fast start, look out. He had the outright lead in the British Open on Sunday, so he’s had a taste of that rush after so many years.

Jason Day: 67-68-67, 8 under. 5.9 percent chance.

Two-time winner this year won the PGA in 2015. Tons of talent – length, great scrambler, solid putter. Needs fast start. Can handle the heat.

Stewart Cink: 67-69-66, 8 under. 1.2 percent chance.

The 2009 British Open champion is playing in first PGA since 2015. Hasn’t been in this position in a long time. But he’s a veteran who won’t be spooked by the pressure.

Justin Thomas: 69-65-68, 8 under. 6.7 percent chance.

The defending champion won last week at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, his eighth win in 22 months. Can get it going in a flash. Enormous firepower. Fears nothing. Could join Tiger as the only back-to-back winners of the PGA since the championship went to stroke play in 1958.

Charl Schwartzel: 70-63-69, 8 under. 2.2 percent chance.

The 2011 Masters champion hasn’t been in position to win a major for some time. Can certainly go low. Can certainly finish – he birdied the final four holes to win the Masters.

Shane Lowry: 69-64-69, 8 under. 2 percent chance.

Was leading the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont before Dustin Johnson took over the tournament. Great attitude, great talent to put up birdies in bunches.