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Home / Sport / 2020 WGC-St. Jude Invitational Leaders, Takeaway: Brooks Koepka Leads After Round 1 in Memphis

2020 WGC-St. Jude Invitational Leaders, Takeaway: Brooks Koepka Leads After Round 1 in Memphis



WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational has a leader with big names, a board for big guys and some humor when Bryson DeShembo tried to get a drop out of a potentially “dangerous situation” (more on that below). Last year’s champion was the leader this year, when Brooks Koepka shot 62 on Thursday to lead Ricky Fowler and Brandon Todd by two and Seng Kang by three. It’s not the result of the first round, who must have seen it approaching, but Koepka was by far the most impressive on this small field with 78 players on Thursday in the 1st round.

Let’s jump into his round and who’s chasing when we go to round 2 on Friday.

Brooks Koepka (-8) ̵

1; Koepka came out with a sizzling MC-T62-MC stretch, which had the worst golfs he played in a 12-month stretch of pretty awful golf (by his standards). So, of course, he threw a dirty little 62 in 1 round to gain a healthy advantage over a lot of stars. I will say this about Koepka: when he feels it and the body is right, no one makes it easier. There are others that make it easier, but no one makes it easier. Every shot and every shot he hits shouts “yes, that’s what the ball has to do.” He is apparently sniffing out the PGA championship next week – where he wants to be the first player to win three in a row in almost 100 years – because he has scored a steady path on Thursday (from tee to green). If you look a little closer to his numbers from last week at the 3M Open, he actually hit the ball well, he just didn’t put it at all. That changed on Thursday at TPC Southwind, and now he’s your boss.

T2. Brandon Todd, Ricky Fowler (-6) and 4. Seng Kang (-5) – A fabulous round from Fowler, who has not had many of them so far. The swing looked great on Thursday, and after his round he said he was trying to focus less on his swing and more on golf. It worked in round 1 when he shot the lowest round on the PGA Tour in 18 months.

T5. Matt Kuchar, Chez Reavie, Maz Homa, Justin Thomas (-4) – JT quietly crept under the wire quietly on Thursday with Jim “Bones” Makey on a bag for him over this key two-week stretch. This week, Thomas was my choice to win, and he did nothing to distract me. Thomas hit the ball nicely and almost put it down. This is the formula for the big pop round 2, perhaps the best striker on the PGA Tour since the restart.

T9. Phil Mickelson, Abraham Anser, Sergio Garcia, Sanjay Im, Victor Howland, Bryson De Shembo (-3) – Bryson was involved in my favorite moment of the 1st round, when he tried to get a free drop, because he saw a pair of fire ants “burying” close to his bullet late in his round. He didn’t get a free drop, but he was still firm on a much softer course than he had seen in Muirfield Village a few weeks ago. His 67 included 10 missed fairways, meaning that some correction is likely to come there, and something even lower may be on deck on Friday.

T26. Dustin Johnson (-1) – Raise your hand if you see a DJ – three straight rounds 80-80-78 – beat John Ram with one and Rory McIlroy with four, making a three in his penultimate hole. Now all of you who are lying down can lower your arms. What’s even crazier is that the DJ hit the ball nicely and made his round with the smoking driver. Golf is absolutely stupid, and never more than when two stars fighting for more than a year defeated a G1 player in the world who is starting his biggest job.

T45. John Ram (E) – Ram spent most of his first round as the best player in the world. Club drops, feet, a look of disbelief. It was Rahm’s full experience on Thursday at TPC Southwind. He played poorly, but now he is almost ambiguous, to the four-time main winner, who goes on Friday. He will have to hit the ball better (like, much better) from tee to green (49th on Thursday) if he wants to be paired on Sunday for his second straight tournament.

T68. Rory McIlroy (+3) – What bothered him the most after restarting the PGA Tour, yesterday he scored on Thursday in round 1. If you dig a little deeper, his proximity to the hole was not too bad, but he lost most of the blows on two holes in the front nine. This responds well to Friday. The bird does the same in its last three holes.

CBS Sports has been with you all along, updating this story with the latest ratings, updates, and highlights below. Check out the results at the top of this story or a more detailed leaderboard.




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