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Golf: Two months after surgery, Koepka in contention at PGA Championship again

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Golf: Two months after surgery, Koepka in contention at PGA Championship again

KIAWAH ISLAND, South Carolina (Reuters) – Four-times major winner Brooks Koepka overcame a woeful start to complete a stellar first round at the PGA Championship just two months after knee surgery, carding a three-under-par 69 to finish tied second on Thursday.

Beginning from the back nine, the 31-year-old landed his first shot in the waste bunker en route to a double-bogey on the par-four 10th.

“Probably a poor club choice off 10. I thought 3-wood would have carried, but it didn’t,” said Koepka, who won the tournament in 2018 and 2019.

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“Deserved every bit of that double bogey. It kind of helped refocus. I can’t play with any mistakes, maybe one a day, and that was my one, and I got it out of the way the first hole.”

He quickly found his rhythm, collecting six birdies on the day, and draining a 24-foot putt on the par-four fourth hole, despite struggling with his accuracy on the driver.

“Six birdies in any round is pretty good but if I drive in the fairway, I give myself a lot of opportunities,” said Koepka. “I drove it so poorly today.”

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Koepka ended the day in a six-way tie for second with Britain’s Sam Horsfield, Norwegian Viktor Hovland, Australian Cam Davis and fellow Americans Keegan Bradley and Aaron Wise, two behind leader Corey Conners.

The performance was a remarkable improvement for Koepka, who underwent surgery in March after he dislocated his kneecap and sustained ligament damage.

His mobility was so limited that he could scarcely bend over at the Masters last month, where he missed the cut.

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“Every day gets a little bit better,” said Koepka. “I notice it kind of more over weeks. Week to week, I’ll notice it gets a lot better.”

(Reporting by Andrew Both; writing by Amy Tennery, editing by Ed Osmond and Stephen Coates)

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Golf-Davis recovers from triple bogey in PGA Championship debut

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Golf-Davis recovers from triple bogey in PGA Championship debut

KIAWAH ISLAND, South Carolina (Reuters) – Cam Davis had “one really poor swing” that led to a triple bogey in his opening round at the PGA Championship on Thursday but put the setback behind him and finished strong, pulling into a six-way tie for second in his debut at the major.

The 26-year-old Australian saw his tee shot on the par-four sixth hole sail out of bounds and his drop in the bunker did not go according to plan.

“It was a bit disappointing coming out of it with a triple because I actually thought I did a good drop in the sand,” he told reporters.

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“I thought I had found a nice, flat spot and it just took a half roll to the side into a footprint and from there it became a battle.

“But from then onwards, the next hole, I hit a good tee shot and kind of kept it rolling.”

Where others faltered coming in amid the windy conditions at the Ocean Course, Davis kept his scorecard clean on the back nine and finished his round with four birdies and an eagle for a 3-under 69, two shots back of leader Corey Conners.

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“With the wind not being super strong, those final holes didn’t have as much teeth as they would have had otherwise,” said Davis, who went as part of the afternoon wave.

“The last couple days in the practice rounds, those holes were a little more interesting.”

Davis said staying cool when the pressure is on will be key as he looks to win his first major title.

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“It helps when you’re hitting the ball in good spots and not really having to stress too much,” he said.

“There was one hole where I was a little bit frazzled but for the most part, I was doing my own thing, playing the golf course the way that I see fits my game and that’s really all I can do.

“And just try to chill out between shots.”

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(Reporting by Andrew Both; writing by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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