TULSA, Okla. – Brooks Koepka didn’t have a detailed explanation for why he played his first nine holes in 5 over par and his next 27 holes in 3 under.
“You can’t play from the rough,” he said. “Simple.”
Playing in the harshest of the winds Friday at Southern Hills, Koepka didn’t find the fairway any more often but he still managed to shoot one of the best rounds of the day, a 3-under 67 that at least assured he’d stick around for the weekend at the PGA Championship. The best major performer of the past five years, Koepka was in danger of missing his third major cut in his last six appearances.
Now, eight shots back, he can turn his attention to a weekend rally.
“Maybe one deep round – maybe,” he said, when asked if he still thought he had a chance to win. “It’s going to take more than that just to come close, but definitely need one really good round.”
Koepka hasn’t played since a missed cut at the Masters. Last week, he withdrew on the eve of the AT&T Byron Nelson, saying that he believed it was the best way for him to prep for the year’s second major. He dismissed any injury concerns, despite reports that his hip injury had again flared up.
Though he was tight-lipped about his health again Friday, it’s clear that his swing isn’t producing the same reliable strikes. Few in the PGA field have driven the ball worse through 36 holes than Koepka, who ranks 122nd in strokes gained: off the tee. Asked afterward whether his body was affecting his swing in any way, he said: “No, I can do everything I want.”
“I feel good,” he said. “I can do everything I want to do. I can move the way I want to right now.”