Powered by two eagles, Brooks Koepka just one shot back through 36 holes at PGA Championship
Brooks Koepka said he only had his C-plus game on Friday. But he’s certainly in the A position heading into the weekend at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island.
The two-time PGA Champion shot a 1-under 71 in the second round and is 4 under for the Championship – just one shot back of the lead held by Phil Mickelson and Louis Oosthuizen.
It was a bumpy day for Koepka who started the day 2 over through six. But he added two eagles in his next five holes to get back into red figures at the 103rd PGA Championship.
He bogeyed Nos. 15 and 17 but rolled in a solid 11-footer on the closing hole to avoid adding another bogey before the weekend.
“I would have been pretty disappointed with even par. I would have felt like I could have played a lot better,” said Koepka on how important that closing par was. “But 1 under in these conditions, it's okay.”
The reason Koepka felt as though he didn’t play as solid as he would have liked was because of the unpredictability of the wind and how it impacted his putting. He said he thought his iron-play was solid, and he was driving it better than during the first round.
“It's tough to putt in this wind, man,” said Koepka. “Sometimes you're playing the wind, and sometimes you don't. The wind might take it a little bit, but you're also not trying to firm it, either.
“I understand everybody else is probably going to miss a few short ones with this wind, but I struck my way around this golf course (well).”
The highlight of the day for Koepka came when he made eagle on seven… after his tee-shot ended up in a bush.
“You’re not really expecting to make an eagle out of a bush,” said Koepka. “I don't remember what it was, but I just know it was a perfect 8-iron if we just hit it right, kind of let the wind try to take it, and was fortunate enough to get on the green and then holed a long putt. It kind of felt like missing that short one and three-putting the previous hole, it kind of made up for that.”
When asked if he thought it was a hard shot, he gave a straight-forward enough answer – with a laugh.
“I don’t know, you tell me,” said Koepka with a smile. “It was in a bush.”
Koepka’s now out of the bush and near the top of the leaderboard.
His rehab efforts have been well documented as he’s returning from knee surgery and he’s not quite 100 percent. But it’s a big Championship. And he’s ready for anything.
“It’s a major, man. It's going to be tough, especially with the wind blowing,” said Koepka. “It doesn't matter, just go out and go play.”