FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — After making major championship history with a 36-hole score of 128, Brooks Koepka didn’t go to dinner or celebrate with friends and family.
“I’m not hitting it well, we’re going straight to the range,”the three-time major champion said to swing coach Claude Harmon III.
Koepka (-12) holds a PGA Championship-record seven-shot lead over past major champions Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott (-5) after Friday’s second round at Bethpage Black.
The 29-year-old Koepka joked about his strength and ability to hit out of Bethpage’s thick rough, but his putting has been even more impressive than his strength and length off the tee.
“I feel as comfortable as I’ve ever felt putting this week,” Koepka said. “You know, like I said, poa isn’t my favorite grass to putt on, but I felt like my speed control has been pretty good.”
Koepka has just 55 putts through 36 holes this week. He’s made 14 birdies, 20 pars and just two bogeys.
Pretty good, indeed.
Koepka also noted that he got “lost” and “uncomfortable” earlier this year after not working with putting coach Jeff Pierce for 8-9 months.
“I started getting too mechanical, and if you know me, that’s not me, to start thinking about the stroke or thinking about where my hands need to be or where shoulder position is or anything,” he said.
“Usually I just set up and go, and we’ve finally gotten back to that. The stroke zeroed out, and I feel comfortable over the ball, and actually feel like I’m going to make it,” Koepka added, noting that he feels like one of the best putters in the world inside eight feet.
While most of the crowd following Koepka was there for group member Tiger Woods — who missed the cut at 5-over — the lively New York gallery quickly got behind Koepka, who’s dominance overshadowed Woods’ quest for a 16th major title after winning the Masters last month.
“It’s always fun to get in Tiger’s group. I enjoy the crowds,” Koepka said, noting all he could do was laugh at some of the hecklers there to support Woods. “I enjoy (the fans) cheering for (Tiger), the energy that they bring. It makes it exciting, and especially if you’re going to play good.”