Koepka matches career best round for lead at WGC in Memphis

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Brooks Koepka watches his tee shot on the 18th hole during the first round of the World Golf Championship-FedEx St. Jude Invitational Thursday, July 30, 2020, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Brooks Koepka has been working hard to fix his game even with an injured left knee.

He put everything together Thursday.

The defending champ matched his career best with an 8-under 62 to take a two-stroke lead over Rickie Fowler and Brendon Todd after the first round of the FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

A week after missing the cut in Minnesota in the 3M Open, Koepka had nine birdies and a bogey on a windy day at TPC Southwind in the World Golf Championship event. He credits all his work with coaches Claude Harmon and Pete Cowen rather than how comfortable he is on this course.

“It’s the first time I feel like I know where my misses are, I know when the club’s in the correct spot, I know when the putting stroke’s nice," Koepka said. "It’s all just the work we’ve put in over the last three weeks of countless hours of beating balls and on the putting green.”

Koepka also will defend his PGA Championship title next week at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, and his coaches helped him realize last weekend how much he was favoring his injured left knee.

He sure found something at TPC Southwind, where he turned in his lowest round of the year and best in seven events at this course. This was his eighth time shooting under par in his last nine rounds here. He needed 26 putts after working earlier this week with Phil Kenyon.

“It's nice to see those results and all the changes we’ve made come through,” Koepka said.