May 26, 2019

Brooks Koepka sets the target at Bethpage Black

18 May 2019, 04:25 | Henrietta Morgan

Even John Daly isn't a fan of John Daly using a cart at this week's PGA Championship. More

Even John Daly isn't a fan of John Daly using a cart at this week's PGA Championship

But along came Lee, whose only US PGA victory came at the 2015 Greenbrier Classic and whose lone European Tour title came as an 18-year-old amateur at the 2009 Johnnie Walker Classic in Australia.

Woods said he did not play a nine-hole practice round on Wednesday because he felt ill, not just for extra rest, but said he felt good during the round. "I'm going to be somewhere around it or close enough to where with 36 holes left, I'm OK".

Hardly what Woods expected, either, but when you don't stay in the fairway off the tee and miss a bunch of makeable putts, a 72 is what you get. How much of that is true or imagined is up for debate, but there is no question the victor of three of the past seven major championships uses every perceived slight for motivation.

Taking advantage of the relatively easy early stretch, he plundered birdies at three of the first four holes, before parring to the turn to be 10 under par for the tournament and bogey-free through 27 holes.

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PGA Championship ticket prices plunged to their lowest level in at least four years on Thursday, even with Tiger Woods eying a 16th major victory in his first event since winning the Masters. "I got a little bit sick, so I made a decision to stay home".

"Bethpage kicked my *** on the back nine", Lee said. "Unfortunately, I had a couple three-putts there and hit a bad chip at 8 and left myself in a bad spot".

"I felt like I won this past year.

If I put in some good work tomorrow I'll be in contention on Sunday", Spieth said. Woods, a four-time victor of the Wanamaker Trophy, will have his work cut out for him on one of the toughest, longest courses there is. "You can't get away with anything 40 yards offline". Koepka had repeated as the US Open champ two months prior.

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Tiger Woods, playing in the same group as Koepka, started at 2 over and was trying to make sure he at least made the cut. He bogied four of his first five holes on the back nine and couldn't make up ground.

Lee nearly caught Koepka in the afternoon, the South Korean-born, American-based kiwi finishing in style with birdies at the final two holes for a 64.

Four-time major victor Rory McIlroy, who closed with his lone birdie to open on 72 is another early starter.

"I think there's only been a couple weeks where Thursday, Friday was good, and it was mainly just because of one round here or there where I holed out a shot", Spieth said. "It is a very real thing", Pepper said. "But all I can do is do my best, I think". Of the last eight, only two have gone on to win the tournament, Jack Nicklaus at the 1980 US Open, and Ray Floyd at the 1982 PGA.

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"I know my family is sacrificing out there for me to chase my dream out here", he said.

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