Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mid-Course Correction Sets Koepka on Course; after a Bad Start, Former FSU Golfer Keeps His Hopes Alive

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mid-Course Correction Sets Koepka on Course; after a Bad Start, Former FSU Golfer Keeps His Hopes Alive

Article excerpt

Byline: Garry Smits

Brooks Koepka has the odds stacked against him if he wants to make the cut at The Players Championship in his first career start.

But there's at least a shred of hope after the former Florida State star shot 9-over par on his first 10 holes at the TPC Sawgrass Players Stadium Course on Thursday, but didn't make another bogey the rest of his round and posted a 78.

Without benefit of any internal pep talks, Koepka played his final eight holes at 3-under. Only five players have made the cut after shooting 78 in the first round since the tournament moved to May (Brian Davis was the last, reversing a 78 with a 66 in 2013), but Koepka certainly has some momentum.

"Not really," said Koepka when asked if he was silently chewing himself out while walking to the first hole after making 8 at the par-4 18th. "It doesn't really bother me. I still tried my - off. I didn't come here to play like crap. I had four or five bad swings and that's it."

Playing partner Rickie Fowler said he admired Koepka for his in-round rally.

"It was good to see him hang in there and fight back to at least give himself a shot," Fowler said. "He can go play a solid round and be here for the weekend. It could have been very easy to hang it up and kind of not care coming in. But he showed me a lot about his character."

Koepka was even through his first four holes, then doubled the 14th after hitting his tee shot in the water. He bounced back with birdies on the next two holes, including a 52-foot putt at No. 15.

It got really bad after that. Koepka hit his tee shot into the water at No. 17, then went to the drop area and knocked his third shot over the green. He managed to get his fifth shot on and two-putted from 32 feet, sinking a 5-footer to avoid further damage. Koepka pushed his tee shot at No. 18 to the right and into a bad lie in the rough. …

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