Jason Day and Brendon Todd share a one-stroke lead on a congested leaderboard after the first round of the US PGA Championship on Thursday.

Day, the 2015 champion, carded a bogey-free five-under 65 at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.

The Australian capitalised on favourable early conditions and made five birdies to sit a stroke clear of nine players, alongside Todd.

Todd produced the best round of those in action later in the day, although he mixed seven birdies with two bogeys.

Bidding to win a third straight US PGA title, Brooks Koepka is among that group after shooting a four-under 66.

Koepka mixed six birdies with two bogeys as the American continued to grow in confidence after a runner-up finish at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

Martin Kaymer, the 2010 champion, Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele, Bud Cauley, Zach Johnson, Justin Rose, Brendan Steele and Mike Lorenzo-Vera are also in a tie for third.

Rose was just one under with six holes to play in his round, but the Englishman managed three birdies to be in contention.

In action for just the second time since the PGA Tour season restarted in June, 15-time major champion Tiger Woods opened with a two-under 68.

The American was even through his first 12 holes before a strong finish saw him birdie three of four holes prior to dropping another shot.

Bryson DeChambeau accidentally broke his driver during his first round and was twice four under, but finished with a 68.

Dustin Johnson carded a one-under 69 to be tied for 33rd, a shot better off than four-time major champion Rory McIlroy, who battled to his 70.

Jon Rahm also struggled to get going on his way to a 70, while 2017 champion Justin Thomas fired a 71.

Jordan Spieth's hopes of completing a career Grand Slam this year took a hit, the American again battling as he opened with a 73 that included five bogeys. Rickie Fowler also shot an opening-round 73.

Brooks Koepka said he is feeling confident in his bid for a US PGA Championship three-peat after shooting a first-round 66 in San Francisco.

Koepka impressed in the opening round of the year's first major due to coronavirus, the two-time defending champion holing six birdies and two bogeys to be just a shot off the pace at TPC Harding Park.

Asked what it would mean to win three straight US PGA titles, American star Koepka replied: "It would mean extra because I wasn't able to do it at the U.S. Open.

"I think that drove me nuts a little bit. I mean, obviously I played about as good – I played good golf, but I just got beat by Gary [Woodland].

"To do it here, it would be special. I think – I don't know how many – I think there's, what, six guys that have ever won three in a row. Not a bad list to be on. That's the whole goal every time we tee it up in a major is to win them. The whole year is spent prepping for these four."

Koepka started on the back nine and after bogeying his second hole, the four-time major champion responded by birdieing four of his next seven.

The big-hitting 30-year-old dropped the first following the turn, however, a pair of birdies on the second and fourth holes ensured he ended the day at four under.

"I mean, it's only 18 holes right now. I feel good. I feel confident," Koepka told reporters afterwards.

"I'm excited for the next three days. I think I can definitely play a lot better, and just need to tidy a few things up, and we'll be there come Sunday on the back nine."

Koepka entered the US PGA having fallen short in his title defence at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, though it marked his best result of the year and just his second top-10 finish in 11 events.

"I feel right where I should be," he said. "If you would have said last week and this week, I'd feel perfect, right where I need to be. I'm excited. I'm ready to play. But you asked for three weeks, so it's been okay. There was a missed cut in there."

Koepka added: "The majors almost seem like an easier week for me, nine holes pretty much every day in the practice rounds and try to stay off my feet and not do too much.

"I think sometimes guys cannot overprepare, but just practice a little too much. If you're going to be here until Sunday it's pretty mentally draining. Physically it's fine, but mentally I'm done after four days of this."

When Brooks Koepka sets his mind to something on a golf course there is little he cannot do.

That statement is particularly true when it comes to the majors, where the American's record over the past three years has been phenomenal.

Koepka has won four times in his last 10 appearances at one of golf's big four tournaments, while his lowest finish in 2019 was a tie for fourth at The Open.

The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc with the golfing calendar in 2020 but major golf is back this week, as TPC Harding Park hosts a behind-closed-doors US PGA Championship.

For Koepka, opportunity knocks for a rare achievement for the second time in a little over year as he aims to win the same major three years running.

He came desperately close to doing it at the U.S. Open last year, finishing runner-up to Gary Woodland.

The fact he had the chance to do it once speaks volumes, to have another opportunity so soon is remarkable. To put it into context, no player has won the same major running three years straight in 64 years.

We delve back into history to look at the names Koepka can join by clinching a three-peat on Sunday.

FOUR STRAIGHT WINS AT THE SAME MAJOR

Young Tom Morris: The Open 1868-72

Winning three in a row is hard enough, but incredibly two players have managed four straight wins at the same major. The first was the legendary Young Tom Morris in the 19th century. The eagle-eyed among you will notice the dates are a five-year span. Well, in 1871 the competition was not played as Morris retired the old trophy – a championship belt. When the Claret Jug was introduced in 1872, Morris made it four in a row.

Walter Hagen: PGA Championship 1924-27

The great Walter Hagen won 11 majors in total and had a particular affinity for the PGA Championship, which he won on five occasions – a joint record with Jack Nicklaus. His four victories in this period came in the tournament's match-play era with Jim Barnes, Wild Bill Mehlhorn, Leo Diegel and Joe Turnesa his beaten opponents.

THREE STRAIGHT WINS AT SAME MAJOR

Jamie Anderson: The Open 1877-79

A few years after Morris' triumphs, it was the turn of Jamie Anderson to dominate golf's oldest major. Incredibly, it did not take long at all for the next man to accomplish the feat…

Bob Ferguson: The Open 1880-1882

Indeed, the achievement happened back-to-back at the same major with Bob Ferguson entering the history books. It was so very nearly four too, but he lost a play-off in 1883, when William Fernie lifted the Claret Jug.

Willie Anderson: The U.S. Open 1903-05

The first and as yet only man to win three straight U.S. Open titles. It was Willie Anderson's fourth in the space of five years, a joint record for the tournament. Ben Hogan went back-to-back in 1950 and 1951 (having also triumphed in 1948), while Curtis Strange and Koepka have also successfully defended the trophy. 

Peter Thomson: The Open 1954-56

Hall of Famer Peter Thomson remains the only player to win three straight majors since golf's Grand Slam was acknowledged as The Open, the Masters, the U.S. Open and the US PGA Championship. Sensationally, in a six-year span from 1953 to 58, the Australian won four times and finished runner-up twice, before he added a fifth title in 1965.

It may not be quite what we are used to but major golf is finally back as Brooks Koepka defends his US PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in California this week.

The global coronavirus pandemic completely wiped out The Open Championship for 2020, while each of the other three majors had to be rescheduled.

A three-month enforced break of the PGA Tour perhaps came at an opportune moment for some, while halting the momentum of others.

As golf gears up for its first major of 2020, behind closed doors of course, we take a look at the players we expect to be competing in California.


WEBB SIMPSON

It has been some return to form over the past couple of years for 2012 U.S. Open victor Webb Simpson, who slipped as low as 90th in the rankings following the 2016 Wells Fargo Championship before his triumph at the Players Championship a couple of years ago kick-started a career that looked in danger of stagnating. Even more promisingly, Simpson has wins either side of lockdown at the Phoenix Open and RBC Heritage. Throw in top-10s at the Sony Open and Rocket Mortgage Classic and he certainly has the form to contend.

JUSTIN THOMAS

Since winning the 2017 PGA Championship, it has not quite happened in the majors for Justin Thomas, whose only other top-10 in golf's big four since came at the same tournament a year later. But this guy is a serial contender on Tour and has four wins to his name in the past year, the most recent of course coming at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational on Sunday. Thomas is now back at world number one thanks to his triumph in Memphis and has three other top-10s since golf's hiatus was lifted so do not be surprised to see him in contention come Sunday.

BRYSON DECHAMBEAU

He is a man who splits opinion but one thing that cannot be argued is how supremely talented Bryson DeChambeau is. After bulking up during lockdown, he now appears to have even more weapons to his arsenal. Prior to missing the cut at the Memorial, DeChambeau made eight top-10s in nine starts, which included a win at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. He has the game to win a major.

COLLIN MORIKAWA

A name perhaps not too familiar with the casual golf fan, but since turning pro in 2019 Collin Morikawa has climbed from 1039th in the world to 12th. After finishing second at the season-restarting Charles Schwab, he won the Workday Charity Open by beating Thomas in a play-off. His other results have admittedly been mixed but for those who like an outside bet the 23-year-old may take your fancy.

JON RAHM

Admittedly, tipping the man who was world number one until Thomas' win at the weekend to be a contender does not exactly scream imagination. But the talented Spaniard was not exactly in peak form prior to winning the Memorial last month, which crowned his ascension to the top of the rankings. Prior to that he had gone CUT, T33, T37, T27 at his four previous events post-lockdown. But surely Jon Rahm will eventually break his major duck and this weekend can be the time.

KOEPKA, RORY, WOODS AND THE USUAL SUSPECTS

Some players you just expect to see involved at the majors. Koepka is aiming to be the first man in 64 years to win the same major three years running and showed plenty of promise in Memphis over the weekend, where he finished runner-up to Thomas. Rory McIlroy has lost his number one status after struggling to rediscover his excellent form prior to golf's suspension but the Northern Irishman has previous at Harding Park, where he won the 2015 WGC-Cadillac Match Play. Tiger Woods really has not played enough golf in 2020 to judge where his form and fitness is at – he has played just once since the season restarted – but never, ever write off the 15-time major winner. Dustin Johnson's form has been a little erratic, though he did win the Travelers Championship at the end of June.

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."

Justin Thomas held off a threat from defending champion Brooks Koepka to win the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational and claim the number one ranking.

Thomas carded a five-under-par 65 in Sunday's final round to soar to the top of the leaderboard and he stayed there for his third title of the season – the most on the PGA Tour.

Former world number one and 2018 champion Thomas was four shots off the pace when he teed off on day four at TPC Southwind, where Brendon Todd was the player to beat overnight in Memphis, Tennessee.

But Todd could only manage a fourth-round 75 and a share of 15th as Thomas – fuelled by a flawless front nine – used six birdies and a solitary bogey to clinch his 13th career crown at 13 under.

The result means Jon Rahm's brief stint atop the world golf rankings is over, with the Spaniard (66) replaced by Thomas after languishing in a tie for 52nd ahead of the US PGA Championship, which starts in San Francisco on Thursday.

Koepka – eyeing back-to-back successes at the tournament – was within one stroke of the lead but the four-time major champion double-bogeyed the last to sign for a 69, having also bogeyed the 16th.

The US PGA Championship holder ended the World Golf Championships event tied for second alongside Phil Mickelson (67), Daniel Berger (65) and Tom Lewis (66).

Xander Schauffele (66), Jason Day (67), Shane Lowry (67), Chez Reavie (68), Louis Oosthuizen (68) and Matt Fitzpatrick (68) finished four strokes behind Thomas, while Dustin Johnson (67), Webb Simpson (68) and Byeong Hun An (73) were a shut further back.

It was another tough outing for Jordan Spieth – the three-time major winner still searching for his first top-10 performance since the Charles Schwab Challenge.

A final-round 71, consisting of two double bogeys, two bogeys and five birdies, saw Spieth slide to four under and nine strokes adrift.

Another former world number one, Rory McIlroy, did not fare much better after finishing tied for 47th following his three-under-par 67.

Brendon Todd will take a one-shot lead from Byeong Hun An into the final round of a stacked WGC-FedEX St. Jude Invitational, with Rickie Fowler, Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas in the hunt.

Scores of 64 and 65 over the first two rounds saw Todd lead the way by two shots at the halfway stage but a mixed one-under 69 on Saturday left him at 12 under for the tournament and allowed the chasing pack to close in.

Todd, who won back-to-back titles in November after a five-year trophy drought, was one under through the first nine and stayed that way after mixing three birdies with as many bogeys on the way home.

Byeong made double bogey at the par-three 11th to fall back to level par for his round but a streak of four birdies from the 13th to the 16th saw him sign for a 66 and left him just a shot back.

Fowler was flying after going out in 32, only for bogeys at the 12th and 17th to check his progress and leave him at two back on 10 under.

Koepka toiled early in his round as a double bogey at the second and another dropped shot at six saw him fighting to remain among the leaders.

But in typical fashion, defending champion Koepka made six birdies from the ninth to the 16th hole.

A bogey at 17 derailed his momentum slightly but at three shots back Koepka is well in contention heading in Sunday.

Thomas' 66 means he is four shots back, the former world number one going four under on the back nine – including three straight birdies from the 15th to the 17th.

Phil Mickelson, Matt Fitzpatrick, Louis Oosthuizen and Chez Reavie are all five shots back.

Brooks Koepka lamented his putting after struggling to a one-over 71 at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational on Friday.

The overnight leader dropped to a tie for third, four shots adrift of Brendon Todd (65) at the halfway mark of the PGA Tour event in Memphis.

Koepka rued his performance with the putter in the second round, in which he mixed three birdies with two bogeys and a double bogey.

"I just putted bad. It wasn't really anything other than that. Felt stress-free other than just missing some short ones," the American defending champion said.

"On the back nine they felt good, they were just missing, and on the front they just weren't good putts."

Koepka added: "I felt like I did everything we were trying to do, just wasn't working, wasn't seeing the line.

"Even yesterday I said I didn't feel quite comfortable over anything inside five feet and today it just felt kind of the same."

Koepka is tied for third with Chez Reavie and Byeong Hun An, two shots behind Rickie Fowler and four adrift of Todd.

Brendon Todd held a two-shot lead heading into the weekend at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational after defending champion Brooks Koepka faltered following a stunning opening round.

Play for round two was brought forward and the field went out in threes on Friday due to the threat of inclement weather in Memphis, and Todd led the way through 36 holes at 11 under after shooting a fine bogey-free 65.

Todd, who won back-to-back tournaments in November after a five-year trophy drought, picked up two shots on the way out and three more on the way home – sinking brilliant birdie putts at the 14th and 15th.

Koepka, who will defend his US PGA Championship next week, had started this tournament with a 62 to match his career-low score on the PGA Tour.

The former world number one started round two on the back nine and was ticking along nicely as birdies at his second and ninth hole moved him to 10 under.

But a double bogey immediately after the turn coupled with two more dropped shots either side of a birdie at the sixth – his 15th – saw him sign for a one-over 71, leaving him four back of Todd.

Rickie Fowler finished birdie-birdie to get within two of Todd after a 67 on Friday, with An Byeong-hun and Chez Reavie in a tie for third with Koepka.

Rory McIlroy recovered from an opening-round 73 with a four-under 66 but stood 10 shots off the pace, while world number one Jon Rahm was four over and Justin Thomas (-4) and Dustin Johnson (-3) each had significant ground to make up.

Brooks Koepka was pleased to see his hard work rewarded during the first round of the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

The American made a dream start to his title defence in Memphis, matching a career-low with an eight-under 62 in the first round to hold a two-stroke lead.

Koepka, who had missed cuts in two of his previous three tournaments, said his performance was thanks to the work he had put in.

"It's all what's gone on behind the scenes," the four-time major champion told a news conference.

"I do feel comfortable at this place, I like it, but at the same time, it's the first time I feel like I know where my misses are, I know when the club's in the correct spot, I know when the putting stroke's nice.

"It's all just the work we've put in over the last three weeks of countless hours of beating balls and on the putting green."

Koepka has one top-10 finish in 10 starts this year, but the world number six was happy with his improvement on Thursday.

"I played good, I drove it well, putted well, chipped it well, did everything very solid, missed in the correct spots," he said.

"I never really felt like I was having to work too hard out there so that's a little different than it has been, but I guess that's why we put in all the work."

Brooks Koepka made a dream start to his title defence at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational after matching his career-low round on the PGA Tour.

Koepka carded an eight-under-par 62 for a two-stroke lead following the opening round of the World Golf Championships event in Memphis on Thursday.

The four-time major champion – who has missed two cuts in his past three outings heading to TPC Southwind – was almost flawless at the PGA and European Tour tournament.

Koepka, troubled by a knee injury that has led to just one top-10 finish in 10 tournaments this year, raced out of the blocks with four consecutive birdies before closing out the front nine with back-to-back gains after dropping the seventh.

The American star was bogey free after the turn, birdieing the 11th, 13th and 16th holes to top the leaderboard ahead of countrymen Rickie Fowler and Brendon Todd.

Kang Sung-hoon is outright fourth on five under, a shot ahead of 2018 champion Justin Thomas, Matt Kuchar, Chez Reavie and Max Homa, while the likes of Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia are three under through 18 holes.

Former world number one Jordan Spieth endured a mixed round, posting a double bogey, two bogeys and six birdies for a two-under-par 68 – a score matched by players such as Jason Day, Bubba Watson and Xander Schauffele.

Dustin Johnson, the 2016 winner who withdrew from last week's 3M Open, signed for a first-round 69 to be a shot better off than world number one Jon Rahm.

Rahm dethroned Rory McIlroy as the world's top-ranked golfer after winning the Memorial Tournament earlier this month and the Spanish star opened his Memphis campaign with four bogeys and four birdies.

He performed a lot better than McIlroy, who carded a three-over-par 73 to leave himself with plenty of work to do heading into Friday's second round.

Brooks Koepka believes he will turn his form around despite still being troubled by a knee injury.

Koepka, the world number six, has missed two cuts in his past three events heading into the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

The four-time major champion is confident he can recapture his best form, having recorded just one top-10 finish in 10 events this year.

"It's definitely been frustrating. It will test you mentally, but at the same time, I'm looking at it as a challenge and something where I know it will turn around eventually. It's going to turn around," Koepka told a news conference.

"You don't work that hard for nothing. Starting to see signs of it. Now it's just about going and doing it.

"Whether it be this week, next week, a month from now, two months from now, whatever it's going to be, it will pay off."

Koepka suffered a torn patella tendon in his knee last year and is still being bothered by the injury.

The American said he would finish the season before considering his options.

"The tear has to be worse to go under the knife, but we'll see how it goes," Koepka said.

"We'll see when my season ends and go get stem cell again most likely and figure it out from there."

Michael Thompson and Richy Werenski share the lead at the halfway mark of the 3M Open, while Brooks Koepka missed the cut.

Thompson carded a five-under 66 on Friday to be tied for the lead with Werenski (67) at 12 under at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, Minnesota.

Tony Finau (66) and Talor Gooch (65) are tied for third a shot back of the leaders.

Coming off an eighth-place finish at the Memorial Tournament, Finau made an eagle, four birdies and a bogey.

The American produced some magic for his eagle, holing out from 81 yards at the par-five sixth hole.

Koepka, meanwhile, missed the cut for the second time in three tournaments.

The world number six fired an even-par 71 to finish at one under, missing the weekend by a shot.

Koepka has just one top-10 finish in five tournaments since the PGA Tour season resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

China's Zhang Xinjun (67) is outright fifth at 10 under, a shot ahead of defending champion Matthew Wolff (68) and Australian Cameron Davis (66).

Bo Van Pelt (68), Charl Schwartzel (68), Patrick Rodgers (68) and Nick Watney (69) are at eight under.

Richy Werenski fired an eight-under 63 to lead the 3M Open, while Brooks Koepka was unable to get going in the first round on Thursday.

Werenski grabbed a one-stroke lead at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, Minnesota, after an impressive opening round.

The American made nine birdies and a bogey, with his only blemish coming at the par-four third hole.

Werenski is a shot clear of Michael Thompson, who managed a bogey-free 64.

Koepka, who has one top-10 finish in four events since the PGA Tour season restarted, again battled.

The world number six and four-time major champion carded a one-under 70 to be tied for 57th.

Former world number one Dustin Johnson, meanwhile, withdrew from the tournament, citing a back injury, after shooting a 78.

After challenging at the Memorial Tournament, Tony Finau again made a bright start with a six-under 65.

Finau shares third place with Ryan Moore, Zhang Xinjun, Nick Watney, Matthew Wolff, Max Homa and Bo Hoag.

Wolff, the defending champion, made four birdies on his final eight holes to make a strong start to his title defence.

A group of 10 players are tied for 10th at five under, including South African Charl Schwartzel.

Also in that group is Bo Van Pelt, who produced one of the shots of the day with an ace at the eighth hole.

Ryan Palmer and Tony Finau are tied for the lead at the halfway stage of the Memorial Tournament, where 15-time major champion Tiger Woods narrowly made the cut.

Palmer carded a four-under-par 68 to join fellow American Finau in a share of the one-stroke lead following Friday's second round in Dublin, Ohio.

Finau was the outright leader when day two started, but a second-round 69 saw him head into the weekend with company at nine under through 36 holes at Muirfield Village.

Spanish star Jon Rahm is a shot off the pace after a five-under-par 67, while Gary Woodland (70), Chez Reavie (67) and Luke List (68) are tied for fourth at six under.

After opening with a 73, former world number one Jason Day posted a 66 to catapult himself into outright seventh position – four shots behind Palmer and Finau.

Back-to-back 70s has Jordan Spieth four under at the halfway point, one stroke ahead of another American star – Justin Thomas, who used a five-under-par 67 to climb 43 positions into a tie for 16th.

World number one Rory McIlroy's struggles continued after an even-par 72 saw him slip seven shots off the pace.

McIlroy is yet to finish in the top 10 of a PGA Tour tournament since golf resumed in June amid the coronavirus pandemic, and a double bogey and four bogeys left the Northern Irishman tied for 21st.

As for Woods, the American superstar barely survived to prolong his PGA comeback into the weekend on Friday.

Woods – in action for the first time since February – made a decent start but his second round was far more concerning amid back problems.

The 44-year-old, who opened the event with a 71, signed for a four-over-par 76 to close the day three over, just one stroke above the cut line.

Three bogeys from his first nine holes left Woods in trouble, but the five-time Memorial Tournament winner rallied after the turn by birdieing two of his final three holes.

While the likes of Brooks Koepka (75), Patrick Reed (76) and Phil Mickelson (74) managed to make the cut, Rickie Fowler (68), Justin Rose (76) and Bryson DeChambeau (76) failed to qualify for the weekend.

Page 3 of 6
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.