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2019 PGA Championship: Brooks Koepka soars into lead, Tiger Woods shoots 72

By
Connor Grott
Brooks Koepka waves on the 14th green during the first round at the PGA Championship on Thursday at The Black Course at Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, New York. Photo by Corey Sipkin/UPI
Brooks Koepka waves on the 14th green during the first round at the PGA Championship on Thursday at The Black Course at Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, New York. Photo by Corey Sipkin/UPI | License Photo

May 16 (UPI) -- Brooks Koepka sat at the top of the leaderboard on Thursday at the 101st PGA Championship, coasting through a bogey-free round of 63 that set the course record at Bethpage Black.

Koepka, who also shot 63 on his way to winning the PGA Championship last year in St. Louis, had seven birdies and posted the lowest opening round by a defending PGA champion. He joined Greg Norman and Vijay Singh as the third player ever to record multiple rounds of 63 in major championship history, according to 15th Club.

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"I drilled the ball pretty well today," Koepka told reporters. "The key is you got to put it in the fairway here if you really want to hit it on the green. My iron play was solid. My putter was hot today, I'm not gonna lie. It hadn't felt that good in a long time.

"This is a crazy day. 7-under, it's not going to happen every day. I know that. I parred the two par-5s. I missed a 5-footer on [hole] 11. It could have been a hell of a round. Don't get me wrong, it was great. I would take it any day."

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RELATED PGA Championship: Leader Brooks Koepka fires course record 63

Koepka had a one-shot lead over Danny Lee after the first round of the tournament. Lee shot a 6-under 64 after birdies on his last two holes. His best finish at the PGA Championship was a tie for 43rd in 2015.

Tommy Fleetwood hit a 3-under 67 to finish in third. Mike Lorenzo-Vera, Chez Reavie, Luke List, Sung Kang and Pat Perez each were 2-under par for a share of fourth place.

RELATED Brooks Koepka cards 32 on first nine holes at 2019 PGA Championship

Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day were tied for ninth at 1-under par.

Tiger Woods had a wild opening round, highlighted by two double bogeys and an eagle. The 43-year-old, who won the Masters in April, carded a 72 and trails Koepka by nine shots entering Friday's second round.

RELATED PGA Championship: Tiger Woods climbs leaderboard with birdies, eagle

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