FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — After making major championship history with a 36-hole score of 128, Brooks Koepka didn’t go to dinner or celebrate with friends and family.
"I’m not hitting it well, we’re going straight to the range,"the three-time major champion said to swing coach Claude Harmon III.
Koepka (-12) holds a PGA Championship-record seven-shot lead over past major champions Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott (-5) after Friday's second round at Bethpage Black.
"This probably sounds bad, but today was a battle," Koepka said of his 5-under 65 that shattered the 36-hole scoring record for a major championship. "I didn’t strike it that good. I was leaking a few to the right. But I don’t think — the way I hung in there today and battled it, I think that was probably more impressive than yesterday, not having your A game, but still being able to shoot a great score."
The performance he’s referencing was his 7-under 63 on Thursday, which set the course record at Bethpage Black and was one shot off the PGA Championship record of 62.
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The 29-year-old Koepka joked about his strength and ability to hit out of Bethpage’s thick rough, but his putting has been even more impressive than his strength and length off the tee.
"I feel as comfortable as I’ve ever felt putting this week," Koepka said. "You know, like I said, poa isn’t my favorite grass to putt on, but I felt like my speed control has been pretty good."
Koepka has just 55 putts through 36 holes this week. He’s made 14 birdies, 20 pars and just two bogeys.
Pretty good, indeed.
Koepka also noted that he got "lost" and "uncomfortable" earlier this year after not working with putting coach Jeff Pierce for 8-9 months.
"I started getting too mechanical, and if you know me, that’s not me, to start thinking about the stroke or thinking about where my hands need to be or where shoulder position is or anything," he said.
"Usually I just set up and go, and we’ve finally gotten back to that. The stroke zeroed out, and I feel comfortable over the ball, and actually feel like I’m going to make it," Koepka added, noting that he feels like one of the best putters in the world inside eight feet.
SportsPulse: Golfweek's David Dusek breaks down Jordan Spieth's big second day to put him in content with Brooks Koepka heading into the weekend.
While most of the crowd following Koepka was there for group member Tiger Woods — who missed the cut at 5-over — the lively New York gallery quickly got behind Koepka, who’s dominance overshadowed Woods’ quest for a 16th major title after winning the Masters last month.
"It’s always fun to get in Tiger’s group. I enjoy the crowds,” Koepka said, noting all he could do was laugh at some of the hecklers there to support Woods. “I enjoy (the fans) cheering for (Tiger), the energy that they bring. It makes it exciting, and especially if you’re going to play good.”
Does he think we’re all witnessing the passing of the torch?
“I mean, I’ve got 11 more to go, or 12 more to go before that happens.”
At this rate, it may happen sooner rather than later.
The No. 3-ranked Koepka has won three of the last seven majors he’s competed in and looks to be unstoppable on golf’s biggest stage. Now, just 36 holes stand between a title defense and a fourth major title.
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