Brooks Koepka Surges to the Lead at P.G.A. Championship
PITTSFORD, N.Y. — Four years ago, less than a week before he won his second consecutive P.G.A. Championship, Brooks Koepka allowed the world inside his swaggering mind.
“One hundred fifty-six in the field, so you figure at least 80 of them I’m just going to beat,” he said at Bethpage in 2019. “You figure about half of them won’t play well from there, so you’re down to about maybe 35,” he added. “And then from 35, some of them just — pressure is going to get to them. It only leaves you with a few more, and you’ve just got to beat those guys.”
Keep in contention long enough, he reasoned, and “good things are going to happen.”
He returned to the mix last month at the Masters Tournament, where he surrendered his lead to Jon Rahm during the final round. And now he is in the mix this weekend at the P.G.A. Championship at Oak Hill Country Club, where he fired a field-best four-under-par 66 on a rain-soaked Saturday, giving him a one-stroke lead over Corey Conners and Viktor Hovland with a round to play. He had also scored a tournament-leading 66 on Friday, after a 72 on Thursday.
All of that is rumbling forth from a man with a wrenching medical history, a man who last year was trying (and failing) to shatter car windows at Augusta National Golf Club after a missed Masters cut, a man who just on Thursday played a round that he said was “the worst I’ve hit it in a really long time.” He finished that day tied for 38th, a day after he declared the try-and-beat-me algorithm he detailed in 2019 still worked just fine.