FedEx St. Jude Classic 2020: Brooks Koepka Leads After Strong 1st Round

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJuly 30, 2020

Brooks Koepka hits from the 18th tee during the third round of the Memorial golf tournament, Saturday, July 18, 2020, in Dublin, Ohio. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Darron Cummings/Associated Press

Brooks Koepka leads a loaded field through Round 1 at the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

The 30-year-old shot 62 Thursday at TPC Southwind, enough to move eight stokes under par and hold a two-stroke lead after the first round. There will remain plenty of competition over the next three rounds, however, with big names like Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and more within striking distance.

With a $10.5 million total purse and each of the top eight players in the world rankings competing in this event, this is certain to be a competitive week in Memphis.

     

Round 1 Leaderboard

1. Brooks Koepka (-8)

T2. Rickie Fowler (-6)

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T2. Brendon Todd (-6)

4. Sung Kang (-5)

T5. Justin Thomas (-4)

T5. Matt Kuchar (-4)

T5. Chez Reavie (-4)

T5. Max Homa (-4)

T9. Phil Mickelson (-3)

T9. Bryson DeChambeau (-3)

T9. Sergio Garcia (-3)

Full standings and statistics available at PGATour.com.

In a tournament that features plenty of superstars, no group was more exciting than Jon Rahm, DeChambeau and Fowler.

Rahm was up and down throughout the round to finish even par, although DeChambeau and Fowler had much better moments starting early on:

It was Dechambeau who stormed to an early lead in the event with two birdies and an eagle in his first seven holes:

He struggled down the stretch with a double bogey on No. 7 to ruin his score, although he still finished three-under for the day.

Fowler was much more consistent with seven birdies on the day to shoot up the leaderboard:

A bogey on his final hole was the one flaw of his round, but it was enough to put him in competition for the week.

Meanwhile, Koepka was also impressive from the start with six birdies on the front nine:

The defending champion of this event ended up with nine birdies and only one bogey, helped mostly by his 3.096 strokes gained on the green.

With the PGA Championship on the horizon, Koepka is heating up at the right time.

Sung Kang and Brendon Todd also posted low scores, but there are several proven players just off the lead.

Mickelson had three birdies in his final four holes to move into the top 10, while Sergio Garcia ended with three straight birdies. 

Thomas mostly avoided mistakes during a solid first round and closed strong to end up four strokes under par.

Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson and Xander Schauffele are also all under par with three rounds left to make up ground.

Round 2 will take place earlier than previously anticipated due to weather concerns, with threesomes teeing off between 7 and 9 a.m. local time.

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