Koepka among trio of co-leaders at FedEx St. Jude

RSS

Several players were able to get off to strong starts at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, amid the steamy conditions that have become a tournament trademark. Here's how things look after the first round at TPC Southwind, where three players share the lead:

Leaderboard: Brooks Koepka (-6), Ryan Palmer (-6), Greg Owen (-6), Richard Sterne (-5), Scott Brown (-5), Steven Alker (-5), Brian Davis (-5), Ben Crane (-4)

What it means: Owen and Koepka set the early pace, but they were caught late in the day by Palmer and his hot putter. Crane, the event's defending champion, reached 7 under at one point before cooling off down the stretch, and Phil Mickelson opened with a 2-under 68 as he looks to refine his game before the U.S. Open.

Round of the day: Koepka quietly went out in 2-under 33 before things got interesting on the front nine, his second half. Koepka made only one par across his final nine holes, countering a pair of bogeys with six birdies. A winner earlier this year in Phoenix, Koepka found 14 of 18 greens in regulation.

Best of the rest: Palmer picked up ground on the greens, missing only one putt from inside 15 feet en route to a 64. Palmer made six birdies without dropping a shot, and now finds himself contending in Memphis for the third time in the last four years.

Biggest disappointment: Dustin Johnson was one of the pre-tournament favorites after a strong showing at the Memorial, but his stay in Memphis lasted only nine holes. Johnson bogeyed his first three holes, carded an opening 38 and walked off the course, citing an illness.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Palmer is a perennial factor at this event, but the player to watch may be Koepka, a long hitter who many have circled as a U.S. Open sleeper. It will also be interesting to see if Mickelson can play his way up the board after a disastrous weekend at Muirfield Village.

Quote of the day: "Knowing I'm getting up early to go do it again, it's a good feeling." - Palmer