Brooks Koepka opened with a 3-under 69 and shares the early first-round lead at the PGA Championship.
Starting his day on the 10th at the famed Ocean Course, Koepka quickly dropped two shots with a double bogey 6, and then after working his way back to level par with birdies on Nos. 11 and 13, he dropped another shot on 15 to sit 1-over par through six holes.
But then the big-game savant went to work, adding a third birdie on the par-5 16th to turn even-par 36. And following three straight pars to start his homeward set, Koepka reeled off three birdies in a four-hole span (Nos. 4, 5, and 7) to rocket up the leaderboard to 3 under par.
Afterwards, Koepka cited a poor choice of club for the double-bogey start.
“Probably a poor club choice off 10,” said Koepka. “I thought 3-wood would have carried, but it didn’t.
“I also didn’t find the face, barely hit the face.
“The first rule is, if you’re in trouble, get the hell out. I couldn’t reach the green. It was a bad lie. Didn’t know what I was going. Just tried to hit a pull sand wedge up by the green instead of just chopping it out. So mental mistake there. Deserved every bit of that double bogey.
“It kind of helped refocus. I can’t play with any mistakes, maybe one a day, and that was my one, and I got it out of the way the 1st hole. Just had to be real careful and watch what I was doing.”
Koepka’s superstar groupmates, Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas, each struggled to a 75 and sit T100 on 3-over par.