Koepka makes solid start in bid for PGA three-peat

Brooks Koepka hits his tee shot on the 11th hole during the first round of the 2020 PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park, California August 6, 2020. — USA TODAY pic via Reuters
Brooks Koepka hits his tee shot on the 11th hole during the first round of the 2020 PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park, California August 6, 2020. — USA TODAY pic via Reuters

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 7 — Brooks Koepka may have fallen just short in his bid for a US Open three-peat last year but yesterday the man who appears built for majors took another step towards a similar bold bid at the PGA Championship.

Following his four-under-par 66 in the opening round at TPC Harding Park, two-times defending champion Koepka was asked if a win this week would carry any added significance considering Gary Woodland denied him a chance to complete a hat-trick of wins at the US Open last year.

“Yeah, it would mean extra because I wasn't able to do it at the US Open. I think that drove me nuts a little bit,” said Koepka. “I played good golf but I just got beat by Gary.”

Koepka is looking to become the first player to win the tournament three years in a row since it switched from being a matchplay event to a stroke play event in 1958.

The world number six suddenly rediscovered his form at last week's WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, where he finished in a share of second place on the heels of a miserable stretch during which his best result in three starts was a share of 62nd.

Koepka, who started the year's first major on the back nine, offset a bogey at his second hole with four birdies to reach the turn at three-under 32. He followed a bogey at the par-four first with birdies on two of his next three holes.

Since 2016, Koepka is 74 under par in majors, a staggering number especially when considering the next closet is Jordan Spieth at 22 under.

While the PGA Championship leaderboard was a crowded sight featuring many top names, Koepka was speaking a confident tone ahead of his second round.

“I mean, it's only 18 holes right now. I feel good. I feel confident. I'm excited for the next three days,” said Koepka.

“I can definitely play a lot better, and just need to tidy a few things up, and we'll be there come Sunday on the back nine.” — Reuters

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