Date: May 17, 2019
Author: Martin Blake

The PGA: Koepka the man to beat


Defending champion Brooks Koepka stamped himself as the man to beat the US PGA Championship today while Jason Day was the only Australian to break par at the famously brutal Bethpage Black on Long Island.

American Koepka made a bomb for birdie from the fringe of the green on his first hole, the 10th on the course, and another from long range on his last hole, the ninth, and made just about everything in between on his way to a seven-under par 63.

It equalled the lowest round in PGA Championship history and smashed the course record for the Black course, with Koepka playing alongside Masters champion Tiger Woods amid huge galleries.

"It was great that Tiger won Augusta, but we're at a new week now," Koepka said.

"Obviously, everybody in New York is going to be cheering for him, and it's going to be loud, especially if he makes a putt. You've just got to keep battling and find a way to get through it."

Woods began with a two-over par 72 and is well back in the field, with two double bogeys, three birdies and an eagle. Three bogeys in the closing stretch hurt him, especially with Koepka making not a single bogey all day.

Koepka, already a three-time major winner at 29, led by four shots for a good portion of the day until Kiwi Danny Lee came in with a 64. Englishman Tommy Fleetwood was next-best with a 67 but only around 10 percent of the field broke par.

Day struggled early but kept himself afloat with three birdies on the back nine, carding a one-under par 69.

Adam Scott began with a one-over par 71, Cameron Smith logged a 73 and Lucas Herbert and Marc Leishman 74s.



-7 Brooks Koepka

-6 Danny Lee

-3 Tommy Fleetwood

-2 Mike Lorenzo-Vera, Chez Reavie, Luke List, Sung Kang, Pat Perez

-1 JASON DAY, Rickie Fowler, Matt Wallace, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantlay, Phil Mickelson, Si Woo Kim.


+1 Adam Scott

+3 Cameron Smith

+4 Marc Leishman, Lucas Herbert

 +8 Brendan Jones

+12 Craig Cocknull, Stuart Deane