Slow Workday start could’ve been far worse for Brooks Koepka

An opening-round 74 isn’t something Brooks Koepka will brag about, but his start to the Workday Charity Open could’ve been even worse after he stumbled out of the gates.

Koepka is making his first start since withdrawing from the Travelers Championship as a precaution when his caddie, Ricky Elliott, fleetingly tested positive for COVID-19. The former world No. 1 is among the headliners in this week’s field, but he has work to do to stick around for the week-end after a disastrous outward half left him at 2 over for the day, even with cleaning things up coming home.

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Koepka started on the back nine and bogeyed both of the par 5s (Nos. 11 and 15). He also bogeyed No. 17, and after having a double on the 18th, he made the submit 5-over 41, which during the time left him ahead of only one other player on the course. He steadied the ship on the front, rolling in three birdies in a four-hole stretch, from Nos. 3-6, to get to 74 with splits of 41-33.

But despite the turnaround on his second nine, Koepka is eight shots off the first lead and can need to go low in the next round to survive the 36-hole cut. The four-time major winner has only one top-10 finish this season, a seventh-place showing at the RBC Heritage, and started the week at No. 155 in the season-long points race.

Given that he is not playing the Memorial Tournament a few weeks, Koepka could have only three more chances (3M Open, WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational and PGA Championship) to crack the very best 125 so that you can qualify for the playoffs that begin in a tad bit more than a month.