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Eventful First Round Leaves Tiger Woods Well Behind Dominant Brooks Koepka at PGA Championship

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The first round of the PGA Championship is underway and already it has a familiar feeling to it.

Brooks Koepka, who won the 2018 PGA Championship, got off to a blistering start, firing a 7-under-par 63 at the Bethpage Black Course on Long Island, New York. It was a course record.

Koepka held a 4-shot lead early Thursday over Tommy Fleetwood, who shot a 67.

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Koepka’s name at the top of the leaderboard in majors has been a familiar sight the last two years as he’s won three in that time — two U.S. Opens and one PGA Championship.

He also finished second at the 2019 Masters to Tiger Woods.

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Woods, who played with Koepka, struggled early and finished with a 2-over round of 72. He’s was nine shots off Koepka’s pace early Thursday.

Tiger got off to a horrible start, double-bogeying the first hole he played, which was the 502 yard par-4 10th.

He bounced back by draining a birdie putt on the par-4 15th but then lost a couple of strokes with a double-bogey on the 207-yard par-3 17th.

Woods, who was hit with a wrongful death lawsuit earlier this week, fought back on the back nine, which was actually the front nine as he started on the 10th hole. He carded back-to-back birdies on No. 1 and No. 2 to get back to 1-over.

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Then Woods got an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole to get back to 1-under.

The rebound stopped there as he bogeyed three of the last five holes to finish at 2-over.

“I got off to not the best start today, making a double-bogey at the first hole,” Woods told TNT’s Amanda Balionis after the round. “I fought my way back … but unfortunately let a couple slip away at the end with some bad putts. I probably could have been a little bit better today. …

“I left a few shots out there, making two double-bogeys and two three-putts. It wasn’t very clean, and consequently I’m a long way back.”

Koepka, on the other hand, did just about everything right.

“I drove the ball pretty well today, and the key is you’ve got to put it in the fairway here if you want to put it on the green,” Koepka said, according to Yahoo Sports. “If you put it in the rough all day, you’re going to be laying up and really trying to scramble for pars. …

“And then, my putter was hot today, I’m not going to lie. It hasn’t felt that good in a long time.”

As the first round continued, it was unlikely anyone would catch Koepka on Thursday.

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Dave is a lifelong sports fan who has been writing for The Wildcard since 2017. He has been a writer for more than 20 years for a variety of publications.
Dave has been writing about sports for The Wildcard since 2017. He's been a reporter and editor for over 20 years, covering everything from sports to financial news. In addition to writing for The Wildcard, Dave has covered mutual funds for Pensions and Investments, meetings and conventions, money market funds, personal finance, associations, and he currently covers financial regulations and the energy sector for Macallan Communications. He has won awards for both news and sports reporting.
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