Given that it's a non-major, Brooks Koepka isn't getting too bogged down in the scorecard this week at the 3M Open.
Koepka successfully defended his title at the PGA Championship in May, and he nearly went 3-for-3 at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach last month. But in between he's fallen into the middle of the pack, finishing T-50 at the RBC Canadian Open and a few places worse at the Travelers Championship.
Headlining the field this week at the inaugural Tour stop in Minnesota, Koepka shot a 4-under 67 that left him five shots off the early pace set by Scott Piercy. But he wasn't exactly concerned with his early position in what's expected to be his final start before The Open.
"I don't care what anybody else is at, I'm worried about how I play," Koepka told reporters. "If I play consistently well over four days, I feel like I would be tough to beat. But you never know, you could run into a buzz saw. Some guy's going to play unbelievable and you just get flat-out beat, and sometimes that happens."
That was certainly the case last week, as Nate Lashley ran away from the field at the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic en route to a six-shot victory, and it could certainly be a theme this week as Piercy looks to win for the fifth time on Tour. In fact, there are nearly 20 players ahead of Koepka on the early leaderboards in Minnesota, including eight players who opened with 6-under 65 or better.
But none of that sways the four-time major champ, who is in search of some positive momentum within his own game heading to Royal Portrush that may not necessarily translate into a win this week outside Minneapolis. Koepka shared plans to auction off his shoes that he also wore at the 2016 Ryder Cup in Minnesota, and he remains optimistic about his opening-round effort despite an early deficit.
"I thought I played really well. I drove it really nicely," Koepka said. "Putted really well. I felt like I made all the putts, at least hit good putts but they missed. I'm pretty satisfied with it."