From Left: Brendon Todd, Rickie Fowler and Brooks Koepka. Pic: Getty Images/ PGA Tour
Memphis, Tennessee, Aug 1: Brooks Koepka went nine shots worse than his first round as he carded 71 on the heels of a 62 in the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, but was still lying Tied third at the halfway mark.
Brendon Todd seeking his third win the 2019-20 season but the first in the calendar year 2020, added 65 to 64 for his tenth round of 65 or better this season and took a two-shot lead over Rickie Fowler searching for his maiden WGC title
Todd trailed defending champion Brooks Koepka after the first round by two strokes. He quickly erased that deficit and took the lead to himself with a bogey-free, five-birdie round for a 129 total at TPC Southwind.
Fowler closed with birdies on his final two holes for a 67 and 131 total just behind Todd thanks to his own putter.
Among those tied with Koepka at third was Korea’s Byeong Hun An, who has just one top-10 in 14 previous starts in WGC events. His career-best PGA TOUR finish has been Tied-second, which he has achieved three times.
The 35-year-old Todd has two wins and three Top-10s in 2019-20 also has owns interesting stat. With 5-under 65, he is currently tied with Bryson DeChambeau for most rounds of 65 or lower this season and they have 10 each. He is one of three players with multiple wins during the 2019-20 season, the other two being Webb Simpson and Justin Thomas.
Todd won back-to-back tournaments last November for his first win on the PGA TOUR since winning the Byron Nelson in 2014.
“I have not hit the ball as crisply the first two days and maybe some other tournaments this year, but I’ve probably putted the best of any tournament this year so far,” said Todd said.
Koepka, starting the day at 8-under, had the lead to himself at 10 under before falling apart on his back nine with a double bogey and two bogeys. He finished with a 71, his first time over par at this course in seven rounds. He was four strokes back, tied with Byeong Hun An (65) and Chez Reavie (67).
But Koepka said he wasn’t worried with 36 holes remaining.
“I just putted bad,” Koepka said. “It wasn’t really anything other than that. Felt stress-free other than just missing some short ones. On the back nine they felt good, they were just missing, and on the front they just weren’t good putts.”
In his first start as World No. 1 Jon Rahm shot a 74 and now is 4 over after two rounds, while Justin Thomas, who could go back to No. 1 in the world with a win, was seven back after a 70.
Rory McIlroy could also have bid for No. 1 butt despite 66 he is 10 strokes back.
This round started early Friday morning to avoid expected thunderstorms in the afternoon.