Brooks Koepka Takes Commanding Lead Into Third Round of PGA Championship

Posted on: May 18, 2019, 03:30h. 

Last updated on: May 17, 2019, 06:50h.

Brooks Koepka shot a 5-under 65 to go to 12-under-par after two rounds of the PGA Championship, giving himself a seven-shot lead over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott.

Brooks Koepka PGA Championship
Brooks Koepka opened up a seven-shot lead at the PGA Championship after setting a new record for the best score after 36 holes at a major championship. (Image: Julio Cortez/AP)

The gulf between Koepka and the rest of the field has made him a massive favorite to win the tournament, with FanDuel Sportsbook making Koepka a -340 favorite heading into the third round.

Koepka: Record-Setting Performance Was “A Battle”

Koepka actually slowed down a touch in the second round, as his score was two shots higher than the course-record 63 he shot on Thursday. But it hardly mattered, as a second consecutive strong day helped hit set a new record for the best 36-hole score at any major championship event ever.

The seven-shot lead is the largest after the second round of any major tournament since Henry Cotton held a nine-shot advantage over the field at the 1934 British Open. What’s incredible is that the advantage could be even bigger, as despite his great scores, both Koepka and others have remarked that he could be playing better.

This probably sounds bad, but today was a battle,” Koepka said after the round. “The way I hung in there today and battled it, I think that was probably more impressive than yesterday, not having your ‘A’ game but still being able to shoot a great score.”

Woods Misses Cut

Unfortunately, things didn’t go as well for Tiger Woods, one of Koepka’s playing partners on the first two days of the tournament. Woods followed up a first round 72 with a second round 73, leaving himself at 5-over par. That caused Tiger to miss the cut by one shot, ending his tournament early.

That’s a disappointing result for Woods, who won the Masters earlier this season. But perhaps it shouldn’t be a shocking one: at 43 years old, expecting Tiger to be in contention in every tournament might be a bit too much to ask.

“I’ve enjoyed being the Masters champion again and the PGA was a quick turnaround, and unfortunately I just didn’t play well,” Woods told reporters after his round ended. “I didn’t do all the little things I need to do correctly to post good scores and put myself in position to shoot good scores.”

Spieth, Johnson Among Remaining Contenders

While it will be hard for anyone to catch Koepka, he hasn’t won the tournament just yet. Spieth shot a 66 to move into a tie for second place, and while he still has a long way to go to catch the leader, there’s still plenty of time for a lot to happen over the last 36 holes.

If I’m able to put some good work in tomorrow, then I will be in contention on Sunday,” Spieth said afterwards. “And at that point, it will be just more trying to win a golf tournament. It won’t matter to me what tournament it is. I’ll be pleased to be in contention.”

Spieth (+2100) is currently listed as the third choice at FanDuel Sportsbook, ahead of Scott (+2900) who also sits at 5-under. Right now, it’s Dustin Johnson (+1700) who is given the best chance of staging a charge at the leader. Johnson sits in a tie for fourth place at 4-under-par. Justin Rose (+4600), who is currently 3-under, is the only other player given better than 50/1 odds of winning the tournament.