Koepka shoots 67, leads by 1 in Memphis


With many of the biggest names in the field already packing their bags in Memphis, a player who won already this year on Tour holds the top spot. Here's how things look at the halfway point of the FedEx St. Jude Classic, where Brooks Koepka leads by one shot:

Leaderboard: Koepka (-9), Austin Cook (-8), Steven Alker (-7), Russell Knox (-6), Chris Smith (-6), Scott Brown (-6), Greg Owen (-6), Fabian Gomez (-6)

What it means: Koepka began the round with a share of the lead, and while Alker briefly overtook him, the Kiwi closed bogey-double bogey to leave Koepka alone at the top. Cook, a sponsor invite who contended here a year ago as a Monday qualifier, lurks just off the pace, as do a host of players at 6 under. Phil Mickelson remains six shots back after a 1-under 69.

Round of the day: Cook has no PGA Tour status and only conditional status on the Web.com Tour, but with a closing birdie he played his way into the final group on the weekend for the second time this year. Cook carded seven birdies, including four in a row on Nos. 13-16, and will tee it up alongside Koepka on Saturday. 

Best of the rest: Knox has been on the fringe of contention for much of the season, and the Scot made a big run up the standings with a bogey-free 64. Knox started on the back nine and birdied four of his first seven holes, and at 6 under he heads into the weekend contending for his first PGA Tour win.

Biggest disappointment: Graeme McDowell added this event to boost his FedEx Cup chances, but the Ulsterman didn't find any answers in Memphis. McDowell missed the cut by eight shots after rounds of 76-73 and now heads to Chambers Bay still searching for his game.

Main storyline heading into Saturday: With a bevy of unknown players near the top, Koepka still appears the man to beat. He is the only player inside the top 10 currently ranked in the OWGR top 75, and his game appears to be peaking just in time for the U.S. Open. Cook is no stranger to the spotlight though, having played with Mickelson in the final group earlier this year in Houston en route to a T-11 finish.

Shot of the day: David Hearn offered an early highlight with an ace on No. 4, a 6-iron from 185 yards. His shot helped him to a 2-under 68 and was quickly followed by another hole-in-one, this one a 9-iron from 169 yards on No. 14 from Hudson Swafford.

Quote of the day: "We’re trying a new strategy, trying to play a little less aggressive, middle of the greens, and just understand that par is pretty good...If you can keep the bogeys off the scorecard around this place, you can make a bunch of birdies." - Koepka