Brooks Koepka mentioned this might occur to him. However it’s nonetheless a stunner


Brooks Koepka hits out of a bunker on the tenth gap at Los Angeles Nation Membership on Thursday.

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LOS ANGELES — He instructed us so. Sorta.

Two days earlier than this U.S. Open, Brooks Koepka was waxing poetic on majors and his nearly uncanny degree of success in them. It’s not that Koepka isn’t expert sufficient to have gained 5 of golf’s greatest occasions, together with final month’s PGA Championship, and a minimum of contend in many of the others he’s performed in. It’s simply that the opposite dudes can’t.  

So what’s the attraction, Brooks?

“I simply love once I guess perhaps someplace nearer to even par wins,” he mentioned Tuesday. “If it’s going to be a birdiefest the place 20-, 21-under wins, that’s actually not the model. I actually don’t even suppose I’ve competed in lots of golf occasions over my profession the place that’s occurred. 

“However for those who take a look at I might say perhaps the vast majority of my wins, they’re all just about 10-under and fewer, which is form of suited to main championship golf. I really feel like — I simply really feel like I can outlast everyone on the subject of having to par issues to demise or simply form of sporting guys out on the golf course and simply mentally beating you and realizing when it’s my time to form of take that chance and go together with it. I feel being affected person is an enormous factor with that, as effectively, and simply realizing when to go after a flag or when to play cautious.”

Then they put the golf balls within the air right here on Thursday at Los Angeles Nation Membership

And the third main of the yr bizarrely changed into the John Deere Basic. 

And Koepka was trying up at a slew of names on the leaderboard. And also you needed to look down a bit to seek out him. He shot a one-over 71 throughout spherical one, and that’s respectable after they play these items at Shinnecock or Oakmont. However this isn’t meant to demean LACC, one of many most interesting ballparks in all of golf. It’s simply that the world’s greatest went nuclear. 

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Rickie Fowler and Xander Schauffele every shot eight-under 62s. In all, the gamers broke the U.S. Open first-round scoring common. It was the “birdiefest” Koepka feared, and his outcomes adopted go well with, although you possibly can’t in all probability level to solely that as the explanation for his sluggish play. Throughout the board, he was off — 121st in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee; sixty fifth in SG: Tee to Inexperienced; 92nd in SG: Strategy; and ninetieth in SG: Placing. He was three over after six holes, rallied with two birdies on 8 and 9, however solely parred from there. 

Late within the spherical, his temper over the proceedings was clear. On his strategy into the par-4 sixteenth, he leaned over and regarded down. Similar factor on the par-4 seventeenth. When issues are going proper, Koepka stares these items down, which he did on the par-4 finisher — solely to overlook a 34-footer for birdie. When he was finished, he discovered his spouse, Jena, signed a ball for his customary bearer, then took three questions from a handful of reporters. He mentioned he didn’t need to shoot a lot better. He mentioned he may rebound. 

Eventually month’s PGA, he opened with a two-over 72, then went 66, 66 and 67 at Oak Hill Nation Membership, however there he was six again after 18. Right here he’s 9. He’s began gradual in different majors, too, most notably on the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock, the place he shot a first-round 75, then rallied to win. Nonetheless, there’s this nugget: Just one participant, in line with NBC, has overcome Koepka’s present deficit after spherical one and gained — Jack Fleck, in 1955. 

“Yeah, it simply means I bought to play actually good the subsequent three days,” Koepka mentioned. “Exit tomorrow, morning circumstances, hopefully it’s a bit of softer, little simpler and play a bit of higher. 

A reporter then requested: “Brooks, you see a pair 62s on the board earlier than you even get an opportunity to tee off, does that change your mindset?” — to which he replied: “It doesn’t matter — taking part in the golf course, not them.”

After which he was off to the vary. 

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Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at and Golf Journal. In his position, he’s chargeable for modifying, writing and growing tales throughout the golf house. And when he’s not writing about methods to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native might be taking part in the sport, hitting the ball left, proper and brief, and ingesting a chilly beer to scrub away his rating. You may attain out to him about any of those subjects — his tales, his sport or his beers — at


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