PGA Championship 2021: Predictions, Live Stream and TV-Coverage Hub for SaturdayMay 22, 2021
PGA Championship 2021: Predictions, Live Stream and TV-Coverage Hub for Saturday
At the halfway point of the 2021 PGA Championship, there are six golfers within two strokes of each other at the top of the leaderboard. And there are some other strong competitors close behind them.
That's setting things up for an exciting weekend at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, South Carolina. Louis Oosthuizen and Phil Mickelson are tied for the lead at five under par heading into Saturday, while Brooks Koepka is one stroke back at four under. Hideki Matsuyama, who won the Masters Tournament earlier this year, is one of three golfers at three under, along with Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Branden Grace.
Fans can tune into Saturday's coverage of the PGA Championship on ESPN from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. ET, followed by coverage on CBS from 1-7 p.m. ET. The early broadcast can be streamed live on the ESPN app, while the late coverage will be seen on the CBS Sports app.
Can Matsuyama follow up his first career victory at a major tournament by winning another? Will the experienced Mickelson keep up his surprising showing? And which other golfers will still be contending for the win come Sunday?
Here are some predictions for how Saturday's third round will unfold.
Koepka Will Stay in Contention with Solid Third Round
Koepka had a second round filled with highs and lows on Friday. He bogeyed two of the first six holes, then erased those with an eagle on the seventh hole. He added another eagle on the 11th hole, but he also bogeyed two of the final four holes, finishing the day at one under par.
Still, that left Koepka at four under for the tournament, and he's in good position to battle for the win this weekend. The 31-year-old is a four-time major winner, but he hasn't won one since the 2019 PGA Championship, which was his second career victory at the event.
Playing in windy conditions, Koepka still showed encouraging signs in the second round. Especially considering he had missed the cut at his previous two tournaments (including the Masters) while continuing to recover from a dislocated right kneecap.
"This was all easy," Koepka said of Friday's round, per Ryan Lavner of Golf Channel. "Everything I did in rehab was a hell of a lot harder than that. [My doctors], they know what I went through. Maybe nobody else really does, but it’s a grind."
Don't be surprised if Koepka continues to show improvement and puts together two more solid rounds on Saturday and Sunday.
Mickelson Will Start to Slide Down Leaderboard in Third Round
The feel-good story of the tournament so far has easily been the play of Mickelson. The 50-year-old climbed seven spots up the leaderboard on Friday by shooting a 69 and is tied with Oosthuizen for the lead. Mickelson is looking to become the oldest golfer to win a major tournament, something he hasn't done since capturing the title at the 2013 Open Championship.
"To know I'm playing well heading into the weekend, to be in contention, to have a good opportunity, I'm having a blast," Mickelson said, per Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press.
As fun as it would be to see Mickelson keep this up, don't expect him to.
Mickelson hasn't finished better than 20th at a PGA Tour event since August. He had never shot better than a 70 at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island in five career rounds prior to Friday.
It would be great to see Mickelson battling for the win on Sunday. But unfortunately, his recent play indicates that's unlikely to happen, and the odds are against him putting together two more strong rounds. Expect him to not perform as well Saturday, causing him to slide down the leaderboard and eventually out of contention by Sunday.
Matsuyama Will Be in the Lead Heading into the Final Round
Matsuyama got off to a slow start this week, as he was one over par after the opening round. However, he bounced back in impressive fashion on Friday, shooting a 68 in a round that featured six birdies and two bogeys. The 29-year-old is now tied for fourth, only two strokes back of the lead.
From 2018-20, Matsuyama didn't finish in the top 10 in any of the 11 major tournaments he participated in. But he had strong showings at big events earlier in his career, and he finally broke through with a major victory at the Masters last month. It appears he's carried that momentum into the PGA Championship.
"Hopefully my play [Friday] will carry over to the weekend," Matsuyama said, per Ryan Young of Yahoo Sports.
There's no reason it shouldn't. Matsuyama is driving well and hitting the ball far. If he can play better on the final holes of the course (he bogeyed the 18th hole on Friday, costing him a stroke), then he could put up even better scores in the final two rounds.
There hasn't been a golfer to win back-to-back majors since Rory McIlroy was victorious at both the Open Championship and PGA Championship in 2014. But Matsuyama is going to have an opportunity to try to achieve that feat Sunday.