CHARLOTTE, N.C. – It should be no surprise that Brooks Koepka, the reigning U.S. Open champion, is playing well at Quail Hollow, which feels more like a U.S. Open course than Erin Hills did in June.
Koepka closed his opening round with three birdies over his last five holes to move within a stroke of the early lead at the PGA Championship.
Despite a pair of bogeys, at Nos. 4 and 16, and an assortment of missed birdie chances, Koepka was pleased with his play – particularly his driving which included 10 hit fairways. He was also happy with his game management on what is proving to be the year’s toughest major test.
“It's going to test your patience one way or another, so I tried to move on with everything,” he said. “You've got to stay patient. You can't make doubles out here. That's the big thing. Make sure the worst score you make is a bogey and give yourself a couple good chances on the easier holes.”
Those kinds of comments are normally reserved for the U.S. Open, or Open Championship when the weather becomes particularly challenging, but Koepka showed on Day 1 that he can also compete when par is a good score.