Varner's 81 at PGA worst round in final group of a major

Published 8:16 p.m. ET May 19, 2019 | Updated 9:55 p.m. ET May 19, 2019

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (AP) — After getting supportive messages from Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan the night before, Harold Varner III could not have had a better start to the final round of the PGA Championship.

The 28-year-old birdied the first hole at Bethpage Black playing in the final pairing to draw within five strokes of eventual champion Brooks Koepka, who bogeyed the hole.

It was the best thing to happen to Varner on Sunday.

The 174th-ranked player in the world shot an 11-over 81 and went from sole possession of second place to finishing tied for 36th with a 6-over score.

It marked the first time a player in the last pairing on the final day of a major shot in the 80s.

“Man, it’s just rough. It was hard. It was really hard,” said Varner, whose only win was in the 2017 Australian PGA championship. “I just didn’t play well enough. It was a great experience. I’m going to get a lot better. It’s just a hard golf course. I don’t know, I don’t know. It’s good.”

Varner finished with one birdie, three double bogeys, six bogeys and eight pars.

His first double came at the par-3 third hole. He missed the…

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