Koepka starts PGA title defence with a big finish

Phil Casey
Press Association
2 Min Read
Three-time champion Brooks Koepka made a solid start to his PGA Championship title defence (AP PHOTO)
Three-time champion Brooks Koepka made a solid start to his PGA Championship title defence (AP PHOTO) Credit: AP

Defending champion Brooks Koepka has reaped the rewards of a patient performance with an opening 67 in the 106th US PGA Championship.

On a day when Xander Schauffele equalled the lowest round in men’s major championship history with a stunning nine-under-par 62, Koepka was only one under with three holes to play.

But the five-time major winner then hit a brilliant approach to the par-5 seventh to set up a tap-in eagle and holed from 38 feet for a birdie on the next to finish four under.

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“A low score was definitely out there. I just stayed patient,” Koepka said.

“Ricky (Elliott, my caddie) kept me telling all day just stay patient, wait your turn, and I think that’s one of the things I’m exceptionally good at.

“Sometimes in a round of golf you’ve just got to wait your turn and catch that run like I did with an eagle-birdie. Really happy with the way I finished.”

Asked if he had always possessed such patience during his career, Koepka added: “Oh, God no. I’m not a patient person. I was very impatient”.

“I couldn’t understand I’m trying to hit a seven iron to 15 feet. It would drive me nuts, I just was striving for perfection.

“I said it earlier this year. I watched DJ (Dustin Johnson) at the WGC down at Doral, Trump’s place. He hit it right into the trees and I’ll never forget it.

“He kind of punched it out and it hit the curb of the cart path and it came back to where I was and he just laughed at it. And I couldn’t understand that.

“(But) getting to know DJ over the years, just kind of how he thinks and how he approaches things, I think that’s his biggest attribute if something bad happens, just kind of let it go.

“And if something good happens, you don’t want to get too high, too low, just kind of stay and ride the wave a little bit.”

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