KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. — Keegan Bradley felt so good from the second he teed off, he couldn’t wait to get on together with his 18 holes in Thursday’s PGA Championship opening spherical at Kiawah Island.
Brooks Koepka, then again, was so ticked off after his first gap, he most likely wished to toss his complete bag into the close by Atlantic Ocean.
Both, taking part in within the early wave of tee occasions, completed with stellar 3-under-par 69s to share the early lead with Viktor Hovland and Aaron Wise on a typically windy day on the Ocean Course.
Those 4 had an early lead on defending champion Collin Morikawa, who completed 2-under however lamented three missed putts from inside of 5 ft on his remaining 9. Martin Laird and Cameron Tringale have been additionally 2-under taking part in within the morning wave.
Bradley felt like he was within the zone from his first swing. Koepka double-bogeyed his first gap of the day, No. 10, with each psychological and bodily slip-ups.
“I played so good today,” Bradley mentioned. “I hit the ball about nearly as good as I can hit it. Some days you get on the market, and also you go, ‘I’m going to purpose it at that tree and draw it off that tree’ and it comes proper up that tree and does what you assume. Today was a kind of days.’’
For Koepka, it began off trying like a kind of days with 6 on the par-4 tenth.
“It wasn’t ideal, the start,” Koepka mentioned. “You can’t do this stuff if you wish to win. You’ve simply bought to be extra centered. I don’t know if that’s a scarcity of not taking part in or what. I don’t know. It was simply silly. A poor membership alternative off 10. I believed 3-wood would have carried, but it surely didn’t. I additionally barely hit the face.
“The first rule is, if you’re in trouble, get the hell out. I couldn’t reach the green. It was a bad lie. Didn’t know what I was doing. Just tried to hit a pull sand wedge up by the green instead of just chopping it out. So mental mistake there. (I) deserved every bit of that double bogey.”
The gaffe, although, “helped get the round going and got me focused.”
Bradley, the previous St. John’s star who gained the 2011 PGA Championship, bought away together with his worst swing of his day on his remaining gap, No. 18, when he pulled his tee shot into some company suites.
He bought a free drop from there and saved par.
“I made one sort of bad swing on 18 but got away with it and made a great par on 18,” Bradley mentioned. “It was a fun day. The course is nerve-racking and difficult to go out there and shoot that score, I’m proud of that.”
Koepka needs to be proud not solely of recovering from that double bogey on his first gap however with the truth that he’s taking part in this properly just a couple months removed from knee surgery. The solely two tournaments Koepka has performed since his March surgical procedure have been the Masters and final week’s Byron Nelson, and he missed the lower in each.
“Every day gets a little bit better, but I don’t notice it,” Koepka mentioned of his knee. “I discover it form of extra over weeks. Week to week, I’ll discover it will get so much higher. I imply, it feels tremendous proper now.
“It’s a major. I’m going to show up. I’m ready to play. I’ve been itching to do this since Augusta. I mean, I feel so much better now. I don’t need to be a 100-percent to be able to play good.”
Koepka, winner of the 2018 and 2019 PGA Championships, embraces the tough course situations this week greater than a number of his fellow rivals.
“I love it when it’s difficult,” he mentioned. “I believe that’s why I accomplish that properly within the majors. I simply know mentally I can grind it out. Like when it’s windy like this, it’s not a lot placing, it’s extra about ball hanging, and I felt like I struck it very well at present. I really feel like that’s why I’ve completed very well.
“You’ve got to understand that sometimes par is a good score.”
And 3-under is best.