FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (Reuters) – A dialed-in Brooks Koepka made an impressed begin to his PGA Championship name protection with a dominant show that left him with a four-shot clubhouse lead whilst Tiger Woods used to be 9 photographs again on Thursday.
Might 16, 2019; Bethpage, NY, USA; Brooks Koepka performs his shot from the 8th tee right through the primary spherical of the PGA Championship golfing match at Bethpage State Park – Black Path. Necessary Credit score: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports activities
Koepka, taking part in with Masters champion Woods and British Open champion Francesco Molinari, made the gargantuan Bethpage Black structure glance simple with a seven-under-par 63 that used to be the second one lowest spherical in any main championship.
“Seven beneath, it’s now not going to occur each day I do know that,” Koepka stated.
“I parred two par-fives and ignored a couple of five-footer on quantity 11 so it will’ve been a hell of a spherical. Don’t get me flawed, I’ll take it each day however simply want to blank a couple of issues up.”
Koepka unfolded a four-shot cushion over international quantity 16 Tommy Fleetwood, who’s having a look to turn out to be the primary Englishman in 100 years to win the PGA Championship.
3-times main champion Koepka started the day at the tougher again 9 and used to be a ways from intimidated as he tired a 40-foot birdie putt at his opening gap. He added additional birdies at his 5th and 9th holes.
Koepka got here out of the flip along with his foot firmly at the fuel pedal as he birdied the par-four first to seize the outright lead and pulled away with birdies on the 3rd, 5th and 9th holes, the latter the place he tired a 33-foot putt.
It used to be a medical get started for Koepka, who’s bidding to turn out to be the primary golfer to effectively protect a PGA Championship name since Woods in 2007.
Woods, who may go back to international primary for the primary time since 2013 with victory this week, did neatly to position a disappointing get started in the back of him however used to be undone by way of a trio of past due bogeys.
The four-times champion had a trio of three-putts en path to a two-over-par 72 that incorporated two double-bogeys, 3 bogeys, 3 birdies and an eagle.
Woods have been six photographs off the early tempo after a slow get started however roared out of the flip with two instantly birdies.
He were given beneath par for the primary time when he sank a 31-foot eagle putt on the par-five fourth however made 3 bogeys over a four-hole stretch beginning on the par-four 5th to go away himself with a lot of paintings to get into rivalry.
“It wasn’t as blank as I’d love to have it needless to say. Didn’t get off to an excellent get started,” stated Woods.
“Then discovered my long ago round. Were given it again beneath par for the day, and let a pair slip away with a pair dangerous putts and a pair errors on the finish.”
Molinari, who used to be not able to carry directly to the lead he took into the general spherical of final month’s Masters, used to be degree with Woods after blending 5 bogeys with 3 birdies.
Some of the past due starters used to be international primary Dustin Johnson, who spark off within the corporate of Spaniard Jon Rahm and Jordan Spieth, who would whole the occupation grand slam of golfing’s 4 majors with a win.
The fifth-to-last threesome off the primary tee featured a high-profile workforce of former champions consisting of Phil Mickelson (2005), Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy (2012, 2014) and Australian Jason Day (2015).
Writing by way of Frank Pingue in Toronto,; Modifying by way of Toby Davis and Ed Osmond