Koepka (65) still on form in first round since major win
Any semblance of rust was quickly knocked off by Brooks Koepka on Thursday at The Open when the reigning U.S. Open champion shot a 5-under 65 for a share of the early lead with Jordan Spieth.
The Open is Koepka’s first start since his victory last month at Erin Hills and he admitted he didn’t spend a lot of time during that break honing his game.
“You're going to laugh when I tell you, I played once with my manager. I think we played on, maybe July 6, 7, was the first time I touched a club [after the U.S. Open],” Koepka said. “Then did it one day for a photo shoot, and then came over here. That was it.”
Still, Koepka said he didn’t expect there to be any rust and his play proved the point, with the 11th-ranked player in the world playing his first nine holes in a perfect 1 under before adding three birdies at Nos. 11, 12 and 13.
His only bogey was the result of a missed 3-footer for par at the 16th hole, but he quickly rebounded by holing out for eagle at the par-5 17th from a greenside bunker.
In fact, Koepka – who arrived at Royal Birkdale to begin preparations last Saturday – said his extended layoff gave him a renewed focused after winning the U.S. Open.
“It's just a mental thing,” he said. “If I start playing four or five weeks in a row, everything just seems to get nonchalant. You get to be in the routine and get used to it. If you take some time off and kind of recharge mentally, physically, I feel like I'm in really good shape right now, even with that time off mentally."
This article originally appeared on GolfChannel.com.