17 May 2019: Brooks Koepka turns up invigorated and whole every time there is a major championship. The consistent American has been in the conversation more often than not, having won three of the last seven major tournaments. The 29-year-old produced another stellar chapter in his developing career that grows with every new outing. A bogey-free course record 63 gave him a shade more ten strokes on the field average, helping him draw clear at the top of the leaderboard.
It wasn’t always shaping so well for Koepka. In his first three majors starting with the US Open in 2012, Koepka missed two cuts and five of the eight rounds he played were 76 or worse. But then he discovered his major chops with a brilliant finish at the PGA Championship in 2014. Koepka ended the week with scores of 66 & 67 to jump up to T15.
Since then he had made it a fine habit to show up big at the majors. In his eighteen starts in major tournaments since the PGA Championship in 2014, Koepka has finished outside the top twenty just four times. On one of those four occasions, he was T21 at the Masters in 2016. Such has been his consistency, bringing him three victories and six top tens in the four tournaments that truly matter in golf.
Koepka has gone low in 32 of his 72 rounds at the majors since the PGA Championship in 2014. These are rounds of 69 or better that have helped him steer clear of his competitors and build a solid legacy at such a young age. He has also shot par or better on every major Sunday except two since 2014. That is incredible for any golfer with the pressure on a major Sunday palpable, especially for those in contention, as Koepka has been more often than not.
On Thursday, playing in the company of Francesco Molinari and Tiger Woods, Koepka putted like a champion golfer nailing the cup with unerring accuracy.
“That was one of the best rounds I’ve played probably as a professional,” Koepka admitted Thursday after needing just 25 putts and leading the field in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green.
“This golf course is brutal. It tests every asset of your game. You’ve got to drive the ball straight. It’s long, so you’ve got to hit it far and really position yourself with some of these shots in. You can’t take a shot off, and that’s what I love.”
Koepka has become the first golfer to record 63 twice in the 101 year history of the PGA Championship. If he can hold his ground and beat all comers this Sunday, he could also emulate Tiger Woods, who is the last man to have won four out of eight starts at the majors. Meanwhile, Koepka joins an elite club consisting of Greg Norman and Vijay Singh as the only men to have shot 63 twice in major tournament golf. Incidentally, both Norman and Koepka also have a 63 in THE PLAYERS.