Friday 24 May 2019

Koepka finds form ahead of PGA defence

Brooks Koepka. Photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
Brooks Koepka. Photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Brian Keogh

Brooks Koepka fired an ominous warning shot ahead of next week's US PGA when he opened with a six-under 65 in the AT&T Byron Nelson Championship in Dallas.

The big Floridian will be going for his fourth win in seven Major starts when he defends the Wanamaker Trophy at Bethpage, and while he was tied for fourth behind early leader Denny McCarthy, he's looking to head to New York with a spring in his step.

"The last few weeks I've been even impressed with myself and how well I'm striking it," said Koepka, who has seen signs of improvement in his putting.

"I think it's important to kind of feel like the hole is opening up with a Major coming."

McCarthy recovered from a double-bogey at the fourth with 10 birdies in a blistering 12-hole stretch to post an eight-under 63 and lead by one from Tom Hoge and Tyler Duncan as Seamus Power and Pádraig Harrington were among the later starters.

On the European Tour, Reds fan Matthew Jordan blasted a course record, nine-under 63 to lead the Betfred British Masters at Hillside and admitted that Liverpool's stunning Champions League comeback helped ease the pressure.

The former amateur star from Hoylake (23) took full advantage of a late invitation and fired nine birdies in a bogey-free round.

"I just watched it, and again, that takes your mind off it," the former Walker Cup star said. Paul Dunne is tied 43rd after a 71 but Gavin Moynihan is struggling after a 75.

On the Challenge Tour, Robin Dawson and Cormac Sharvin shot three-under 69s to share 18th in the Prague Golf Challenge.

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