Brooks Koepka fired a second-round 6-under 65 and shares the lead with Jamie Lovemark after 36 holes of The Northern Trust.
The reigning U.S. Open and PGA champion opened with two bogeys against two birdies in his first five holes, and turned in even-par 35. But on the inward nine, Koepka got red hot, finishing his final seven holes in 6 under, highlighted by a closing hat trick to reach 10-under par after two days at The Ridgewood Country Club.
“You know, when you get out on the golf course, you’re just trying to build a rhythm,” said Koepka when asked to explain his back-nine accuracy.
“And sometimes it doesn’t always go as perfectly planned as you’d like, and then you make one good golf swing, and all of a sudden you’ve got that feeling, you’ve got that rhythm and then you can build off that and that’s kind of what happened today.
“I mean, it happens, I would say, maybe twice during a tournament, or twice in a month, I guess you could say. You know, if you’re not hitting it perfect, it happens quite a lot.”
Lovemark, who shared the overnight lead, posted his second-straight 66, signing for a scorecard comprised of nine pars, two bogeys, and seven birdies, highlighted by a six-hole stretch of five birdies around the turn.
“The goal at the start of the week is to lead and to win it. I’m in great shape,” said Lovemark. “Going to take tomorrow one step at a time and go from there.”
One back was Adam Scott who shot a low-round 64 on Friday to reach 9-under par and solo third-place. The 38-year old Aussie’s scorecard was comprised of eight birdies against just a single bogey. Scott, who’s struggled for the past year, seems to be back in form, and has now posted five-straight sub-70 rounds, going back to the second round at Bellerive.
“Yeah, the confidence is way up, and it doesn’t take much,” said Scott.
“It’s just been very hard to find that consistency for me this year, and I’ve been chipping away at it the last couple months and it all came good at the PGA, and teeing off this week, I felt the most confident of any tournament I’ve picked it up in this year.
“I just couldn’t wait to get up here, really, after the PGA.”
Defending champion Dustin Johnson (67) and Bryson DeChambeau (66) were T4 at 8-under par, one clear of a fivesome deadlocked at 7 under, headlined by Tommy Fleetwood (68).
Justin Thomas (67) and Phil Mickelson (68) lead a group of six more players at 6-under par.
Tiger Woods posted a second consecutive 71 and made the weekend, right on the cut line at even-par 142.
1. Brooks Koepka -10
1. Jamie Lovemark -10
3. Adam Scott -9
4. Dustin Johnson -8
4. Bryson DeChambeau -8
6. Kevin Tway -7
6. Sean O’Hair -7
6. Tommy Fleetwood -7
6. Ryan Palmer -7
6. Jhonattan Vegas -7
11. Phil Mickelson -6
11. Justin Thomas -6
11. Tony Finau -6
11. Patrick Cantlay -6
17. Jason Day -5
17. Webb Simpson -5
17. Louis Oosthuizen -5
24. Rafael Cabrera Bello -4
24. Bubba Watson -4
24. Kevin Kisner -4
33. Tyrrell Hatton -3
44. Jordan Spieth -2
44. Patrick Reed -2
44. Paul Casey -2
44. Pat Perez -2
44. Hideki Matsutama -2
55. Jimmy Walker -1
67. Ian Poulter E
67. Tiger Woods E
67. Marc Leishman E
NOTABLES MISSED CUT
81. Xander Schauffele +1
90. Alexander Noren +1
90. Francesco Molinari +2
101. Justin Rose +4
109. Jon Rahm +6
1. Sam Saunders – 300.9 yards (T24)
2. Gary Woodland – 299.7 yards (T44)
3. Adam Scott – 307 yards (3)
1. Chez Reavie – 26/28, 92.9% (17)
1. Brian Gay – 24/28, 85.7% (T33)
3. Patrick Reed – 24/28, 85.7% (T44)
1. Byeong Hun An – 30/36, 83.3% (T67)
2. Adam Scott – 29/36, 80.6% (3)
2. Dustin Johnson – 29/36, 80.6% (T4)
1. Jamie Lovemark – 1.480 (T1)
2. Dustin Johnson – 1.517 (T4)
3. Aaron Wise – 1.522 (T24)
KOEPKA ON SIMPLIFYING GAME
“When it’s not the best and when you’re not playing the best, I still make it very simple. It’s the yardage and you’re trying to hit that yardage, that’s it. Keep it right of the flag. Keep it left of the flag, short, long. You’re just trying to play position. You know, if you don’t hit the best shot, I’m not trying to mis-hit in a bad spot, so I’m not going to get to angry, and you just keep rolling with it.”
– Brooks Koepka