The four-time major winner has set another major record after just one round of this year's PGA Championship
Brooks Koepka sets new major record at PGA Championship
American Brooks Koepka once again proved he is a man for the big occasion as he recovered from an opening double-bogey to card six birdies in a first-round 69 at this year’s PGA Championship.
The three-under score has the 2018 and 2019 champion sitting pretty in a six-way tie for second, two behind leader Corey Conners after the Canadian made the most of the gentler afternoon conditions on Thursday to set the early pace.
However, it’s the name of major-specialist Koepka that catches the eye out of those at the top, and in posting a sub-70 round, the 31-year-old set a new major championship record.
Never in the modern era has any player begun their quest for one of golf’s four most coveted titles with a score in the 60s for six consecutive years, until now.
In doing so, Koepka has the longest streak of its kind since 1934, knocking none other than 18-time major winner Jack Nicklaus off his perch.
Nicklaus recorded five straight first-round scores in the 60s at the Masters from 1972-1976 before his run came to an end with a level-par 72 in 1977.
Of course, this will likely be of minor significance for the unassuming and straight-talking Koepka, especially should he not go on to win, but it is made all the more impressive given he is still some six months away from full fitness after undergoing knee surgery in the middle of March.
He has only played twice since then before turning up fairly cold to The Ocean Course at Kiawah, missing the cut both times at the Masters and last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson.
However, his record in this championship speaks for itself. In eight starts, the 31-year-old has yet to miss the cut and has only finished outside the top 15 on two occasions; his first appearance in 2013 (T70) and last year when he finished in a tie for 29th.
Back-to-back wins in 2018 and 2019 to go with back-to-back US Open wins in 2017 and 2018 underline the quality of the man who some people still seem to doubt.
But for those unsure of his somewhat self-proclaimed ‘major’ reputation, since 2015, Koepka is a combined 98-under-par in golf’s ‘big four’ events. The next best? Jordan Spieth at -67, 31 shots behind.
As you’d expect, his list of finishes en route to compiling his latest record makes for pleasant reading:
2021: 69 (currently T2)
2020: 66 (finished T29)
2019: 63 (Won)
2018: 69 (Won)
2017: 68 (T13)
2016: 68 (T4)
However, the man from Florida will be far more concerned with a different record this week as he looks to truly cement his pace among the greats and become just the sixth golfer in history to win three or more PGA Championships.
If successful, he will join the esteemed company of Walter Hagen, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Gene Sarazen and Sam Snead.
And who would bet against him?