Koepka nearing peak form ahead of US PGA Championship

By Sports Desk August 02, 2020

Brooks Koepka said his game was just where he wanted it to be ahead of the US PGA Championship.

Koepka fell short in his title defence at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, finishing in a four-way tie for second three shots behind champion Justin Thomas.

It marked the American's best result of the year and just his second top-10 finish in 11 events.

That has left Koepka optimistic ahead of the US PGA Championship, where he will be aiming for a third straight success starting on Thursday.

"I feel good. I feel like my game is right there, this is where we wanted to be, peaking for the PGA," he told Golf Channel.

"I feel like my game is right there, everything's solid, I hit a lot of good putts today, just didn't go in. I'm pleased with it."

Koepka said he was pleased with his improvement ahead of the first major of the year.

"I feel like I'm playing good so I'm excited to tee it up," he said.

"Everything's moving in the right direction so, once you know you lose, it doesn't matter if you lose by one or 10, it doesn't matter so, pleased with it, moving in the right direction and looking forward to next week."

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    Reed tops the leaderboard by one stroke at the halfway stage following his even-par-70 in the second round at the unforgiving Winged Foot Golf Club on Friday.

    Winner of the 2018 Masters, Reed was a shot off the pace after round one but used five birdies to replace Justin Thomas atop the standings in tricky conditions in New York.

    After improving to four under through 36 holes, American golfer Reed told reporters: "I feel good. I feel ready to go out and put myself in position hopefully tomorrow [Saturday] to have a chance late on Sunday.

    "But I think that's the biggest thing is I feel like the game is where it needs to be. I feel good.

    "I just need to tighten a few things up here or there, but the short game is sharp, and when I play around a place like this, that's what you need."

    Winged Foot proved troublesome again on another tough scoring day as 15-time major winner Tiger Woods, defending champion Gary Woodland, former world number one Jordan Spieth and Phil Mickelson were among the masses to miss the cut.

    But Reed managed to tame the course following his opening-round 66, a mixed day featuring five birdies and as many bogeys as he ended the round ahead of surging countryman Bryson DeChambeau.

    "Any time you play in the U.S. Open you know that you're going to have one of those days that things just aren't quite going your way," Reed said. "I felt like I left a decent amount of shots out there, felt like I was a little loose with some shots off the tee and also irons.

    "To be able to feel like that and come out and shoot even par around a day like today, it's definitely a positive and makes you feel good going into the weekend."

    Reed will play alongside rival DeChambeau on Saturday as the pair chase silverware and he added: "It's going to be good.

    "I look forward to playing with him. I always enjoy playing with Bryson. It's kind of one of those things that we go out there, and I think around here it's not really as much on who you're playing with because you're out there attacking the golf course. This golf course you have to think about every little thing off of tee shots, iron shots, putts, everything.

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    "I think that's the thing about the U.S. Open, there's not as much talking going on at the U.S. Open as there is other golf tournaments because it's a premium on every single golf shot. You let up once and you're going to make a mess of the golf course."

  • Woods ready for rest after missing U.S. Open cut as Tiger eyes Masters and Zozo Woods ready for rest after missing U.S. Open cut as Tiger eyes Masters and Zozo

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    Woods endured a disappointing and frustrating outing in New York, where the 15-time major champion failed to qualify for the weekend following a seven-over-par 77.

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    "It feels like the way the golf course is changing, anybody who makes the cut has the opportunity to win this championship. I didn't get myself that opportunity.

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    Woods will then try to claim back-to-back Masters trophies at Augusta, beginning November 12.

    "Probably I'm not going to be swinging a club for a little bit," he said. "Well, until Tuesday. And then after that, take a little break. And then refocus and get back after it.

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    Patrick Reed is the man to beat at the halfway mark of the U.S. Open after earning a one-shot lead in his pursuit of a second major title, while Tiger Woods was among the big names who failed to qualify for the weekend.

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    American golfer Reed was a stroke behind overnight leader and countryman Justin Thomas heading into day two in New York, where the rescheduled major is taking place behind closed doors amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    Reed, who made a memorable hole-in-one in the opening round, replaced Thomas atop the standings thanks to a mixed day, which included five birdies and as many bogeys.

    A controversial figure on the PGA Tour following accusations of cheating during last year's Hero World Challenge, Reed started on the back nine and birdied his second hole but had three bogeys in a five-hole stretch – that also included another birdie – approaching the turn.

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    Rafa Cabrera Bello (70), Harris English (70) and former world number one Thomas (73) are tied for third and two shots off the pace heading into Saturday's third round.

    Thomas set the record for the lowest score posted in a U.S. Open at Winged Foot with a first-round 65, but he was unable to repeat the feat on a tough day.

    Jon Rahm (72) closed the round one over through 36 holes, while world number one and FedEx Cup champion Dustin Johnson (70) is two strokes worse off following back-to-back rounds in the 70s.

    Johnson – the 2016 winner – is three over alongside four-time major champion Rory McIlroy, who endured a forgettable round following a six-over-par 76.

    In contention after round one, Northern Irish star McIlroy – seeking his first major trophy since 2014 – fell 17 positions on the back of a double bogey, seven bogeys and just three birdies.

    As for Woods, he missed the cut and the 15-time major winner was not alone as defending champion Gary Woodland (74), Jordan Spieth (81) and Phil Mickelson (74) also fell short of the six-over line.

    Three-time U.S. Open champion Woods finished with a score of 10 over after shooting a second-round 77, which included two double bogeys and five bogeys.

    It was a horrible day for 2015 champion Spieth, whose woes continued as he bowed out at 14 over after going through the second round without a birdie, instead holding a double bogey and nine bogeys.

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