Brooks Koepka roars into share of the lead in New Jersey

US PGA champion picks up six shots in final seven holes to share lead with Jamie Lovemark

Brooks Koepka  plays a shot on the 17th hole during the second round of The Northern Trust  at the Ridgewood Championship Course in  New Jersey. Photograph: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Brooks Koepka plays a shot on the 17th hole during the second round of The Northern Trust at the Ridgewood Championship Course in New Jersey. Photograph: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

 

US PGA champion Brooks Koepka charged into a share of the lead with Jamie Lovemark as Tiger Woods struggled on the greens to narrowly make the cut at the Northern Trust on Friday.

Koepka caught fire after an eagle at the 13th to blitz home with a six-under 65 and tie Lovemark at the top at 10-under 132. Lovemark shot 66 for the second day at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, New Jersey.

“I hit it about as hard as I could,” Koepka said of the massive three-wood shot that carried more than 300 yards to set up his eagle.

Australian Adam Scott, another late charger, was a stroke back of the leaders after a 64, with world number one Dustin Johnson (67) and Bryson DeChambeau (66) tied for fourth at eight-under 134.

Ireland’s Séamus Power, who qualified in 125th and last position for the playoffs, made it into the weekend action on the number as he completed his second-straight level-par 71.

Woods, two weeks after being runner-up to Koepka at the US PGA Championship, stayed alive in the playoffs with a repeat 71 that left him right on the projected cut at even par and 10 strokes back.

A three-putt bogey at the last had him sweating as to whether his tournament was over.

“Golf’s one of those things where you just have to make putts. I mean, no matter how good. You hit your golf ball tee-to-green, still got to hole it,” Woods told Golf Channel after needing 35 putts.

“Today was one of those days when I didn’t make anything.”

Phil Mickelson, who will go head-to-head with Woods in November for a $9 million winner-take-all event, putted much better than Woods, making six birdies in a round of 68 to land four strokes off the lead at 136.

First round co-leader Lovemark enjoyed a four-shot lead at one point before former champion Scott and then Koepka charged home.

Scott, playing ahead of Koepka and with four birdies on the front nine, bounced back from a bogey at the 10th to deliver four more birdies, three in a row from the 12th, to pull within one of Lovemark.

“I felt like I had everything under control today,” said Scott. “Really important stretch around the turn for me. I bogeyed 10, then made a really good par save on 11 and got back on the horse where I wanted to be.”

Then along Koepka, who is enjoying a brilliant season after also defending his US Open title.

A mixture of two birdies and two bogeys had left him at even par for the day through 11 holes.

But the three-times Major winner found another birdie at 12, then sank a 22-foot putt for the eagle before closing the round with three consecutive birdies.

“If I’ve got the feeling,” Koepka said. “I’ve simplified the game so much. There’s no swing thought. There’s no anything. I’m not trying to work on anything while I’m out there. I’m just trying to hit the correct shot.”

SECOND-ROUND SCORES
(USA unless stated, par 71)

132 Brooks Koepka 67 65, Jamie Lovemark 66 66

133 Adam Scott (Aus) 69 64

134 Dustin Johnson 67 67, Bryson DeChambeau 68 66

135 Sean O’Hair 66 69, Ryan Palmer 68 67, Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 67 68, Kevin Tway 66 69, Jhonattan Vegas (Ven) 67 68

136 Tony Finau 69 67, Phil Mickelson 68 68, Justin Thomas 69 67, Peter Uihlein 68 68, Patrick Cantlay 69 67, Adam Hadwin (Can) 71 65

137 Nick Watney 69 68, Jason Day (Aus) 71 66, Cameron Smith (Aus) 69 68, Harold Varner III 69 68, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 71 66, Webb Simpson 71 66, Chez Reavie 71 66

138 Sam Ryder 69 69, Aaron Wise 70 68, Beau Hossler 67 71, Sam Saunders 68 70, Bubba Watson 71 67, Kevin Streelman 69 69, Billy Horschel 69 69, Kevin Kisner 69 69, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Esp) 67 71

139 Luke List 70 69, Brian Stuard 68 71, Andrew Putnam 67 72, Charley Hoffman 69 70, Scott Stallings 70 69, Brian Gay 71 68, Scott Piercy 67 72, Daniel Berger 69 70, Keegan Bradley 70 69, Emiliano Grillo (Arg) 69 70, Tyrrell Hatton (Eng) 69 70

140 Jason Kokrak 71 69, Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 67 73, Zach Johnson 72 68, Gary Woodland 72 68, Danny Lee (Nzl) 67 73, Whee Kim (Kor) 72 68, Ted Potter, Jr. 71 69, Paul Casey (Eng) 67 73, Patton Kizzire 70 70, Jordan Spieth 70 70, Patrick Reed 69 71

141 Pat Perez 73 68, Kyle Stanley 71 70, Sung Kang (Kor) 69 72, Matt Kuchar 72 69, Chesson Hadley 72 69, Brian Harman 72 69, Bronson Burgoon 68 73

Si Woo Kim (Kor) 69 72, Alex Cejka (Ger) 67 74, Jimmy Walker 69 72, Ryan Armour 69 72, JJ Spaun 70 71

142 Tiger Woods 71 71, Chris Kirk 70 72, Byeong-Hun An (Kor) 71 71, Andrew Landry 73 69, Austin Cook 68 74, Séamus Power (Irl) 71 71, Kevin Na 67 75, Trey Mullinax 68 74, Marc Leishman (Aus) 73 69, Martin Laird (Sco) 70 72, Ian Poulter (Eng) 69 73, Cheng-Tsung Pan (Tai) 70 72, Anirban Lahiri (Ind) 71 71, Brandon Harkins 73 69

MISSED CUT

143 Jason Dufner 72 71, Xander Schauffele 73 70, Charl Schwartzel (Rsa) 74 69, Branden Grace (Rsa) 70 73, Abraham Ancer (Mex) 71 72, James Hahn 75 68, John Huh 71 72, Michael Kim 72 71, Nick Taylor (Can) 72 71

144 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 72 72, J.B. Holmes 72 72, Vaughn Taylor 66 78, Ollie Schniederjans 71 73, Alex Noren (Swe) 72 72, Russell Henley 71 73, Ryan Moore 69 75

145 Joel Dahmen 72 73, Scott Brown 76 69, Russell Knox (Sco) 73 72, Harris English 75 70

146 Rory Sabbatini (Rsa) 71 75, Justin Rose (Eng) 72 74, Stewart Cink 78 68, Charles Howell III 74 72, Tom Hoge 74 72

147 Brendan Steele 72 75, Kelly Kraft 73 74, Brice Garnett 75 72

148 Jon Rahm (Esp) 75 73, Ryan Blaum 72 76, Kevin Chappell 71 77

149 Richy Werenski 75 74, Satoshi Kodaira (Jpn) 73 76, Tyler Duncan 74 75

150 JT Poston 75 75, Troy Merritt 75 75

151 Keith Mitchell 75 76, William McGirt 76 75

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