Koepka claims outright lead


Published: Saturday 13th June 2015 by The News Editor

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Brooks Koepka carded a three-under-par 67 to earn a one-shot lead at the halfway stage of the FedEx St Jude Classic at TPC Southwind.

The 25-year-old American, who won his maiden PGA Tour title at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February, carded four birdies and a bogey to lie one shot ahead of countryman Austin Cook on nine under par after 36 holes.

Koepka, who shot a first-round 64 to share the lead with compatriot Ryan Palmer and Englishman Greg Owen on Thursday, made a bright start when he birdied the first hole.

A bogey at the fifth halted his progress but he was once again in under-par territory when he picked up a shot at the ninth to reach the turn in 34 shots.

Five par holes ensued but Koepka recorded back-to-back birdies at the 15th and 16th to ensure he claimed an outright lead and he admits a change of approach in play is paying dividends.

“We changed strategy a little bit,” he told the PGA Tour website. “I’ve been a little too aggressive lately.

“I’ve had to re-evaluate things. I’ve been playing well but just not scoring well.

“It’s nice to throw a couple under par at them today and build some of the confidence I’ve been lacking.

“I love this place. If you can hit the ball long and straight you’re going to be rewarded.

“If you hit it in the rough you’ll know what can happen – the rough’s kind of gnarly so anything in the fairways is a big advantage.”

Koepka admits he is currently playing with the type of confidence that saw him clinch his first ever PGA Tour title earlier this year.

“Obviously the beginning of the year it was going really well (but) I got hurt and that derailed me a little bit and I’ve just been trying too hard, trying to win golf tournaments instead of letting it come to you.

“I’m still learning how to handle myself, how to go about things and it’s an upward trend right now.”

Koepka holds the narrowest of advantages over Cook, who carded seven birdies and a bogey on his way to a six-under-par 64, while New Zealander Steven Alker is a further shot back after blowing the lead on 10 under by recording a bogey and a double bogey on his final two holes.

Owen, who shot a level-par 70, is one of a seven-strong group tied for fourth on six under, which also includes Scotland’s Russell Knox.

Published: Saturday 13th June 2015 by The News Editor

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