Koepka, who in June became the first man to win back-to-back US Opens since Curtis Strange in 1988-89, could become only the fourth player to win the US Open and PGA Championship in the same year, following fellow Americans Gene Sarazen in 1922, Ben Hogan in 1948 and Jack Nicklaus in 1980. But a first-round 73 had him scrambling to make the cut.
"I can live with that", he said Friday after a 4-under 66. So yeah, you really don't see that every day - or, really, ever. "So the good news is 10 birdies in a major is pretty good".
No one from the afternoon side of the draw finished more than 12 holes. Time and time again, he couldn't get the ball to the hole on the "fuzzy" greens, and the one time he did, with his eagle putt on 17, he bashed it 4 feet by and yanked the comebacker.
He birdied the next two holes. He was at 7 under, three shots behind Woodland with eight holes to play. The greens are also rolling more quickly, and more to the players' liking, after they were a touch slow Thursday from rain early in the week. To be able to come back out this morning and play nicely was good. "The golf course is playing soft, it's gettable, you have to make birdies".
The top eight players in the standings following the conclusion of the PGA on Sunday automatically qualify for the Ryder Cup team.
Jim Furyk will get four captain's picks on September 4, and Mickelson stands a good chance of being one of them. "He showed a lot of poise". "I played as nice as yesterday and am slowly getting into this rhythm that I've been working on with Lee, to be patient and not be too downbeat about shots that don't come off".
What was particularly encouraging for the 14-time major victor was the fact that some of his best swings came late in the day, including a bullet four iron to the par five 17th that set up a presentable eagle chance. However, Tiger found his form and ended the first round at even par.
Seven of the top 12 players have already won one of the four majors - the Masters, The Open Championship, the US Open and US PGA Championship - while the presence of top-10 players Fowler and Rahm adds to a high-quality leaderboard.
Woods himself didn't have an answer earlier this week. "So I'll be looking to clean that up".
"I just was trying to make the thing and I really thought I made it", said Koepka, who successfully defended his US Open title at Shinnecock Hills in June. "I didn't know if it was going to cover enough, but it looked like it just covered the bunker and rolled up there to about 5 feet". It keeps trending toward the red numbers, meaning it could take being under par just to play the weekend.
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