For the second successive day, Brooks Koepka laid waste to the feared Black Course at Bethpage, rewriting golf’s record books in the process, then declared: I wasn’t at my best.
Koepka, 28, added a second round 65 to an opening day’s 63 to get to 12-under-par at the halfway stage of the year’s second major.
That’s seven better than his nearest challengers: career grand slam chasing Jordan Spieth and former Masters champion Adam Scott.
Defending champion Koepka’s lead is the lowest 36-hole total in major championship history and the largest lead at this stage of the US PGA. He is now a remarkable 67-under in major championships since the start of the 2016 US PGA – 24 shots better than any other player during that stretch.
Barring a minor miracle, he will surely secure his fourth major victory this Sunday – despite having not been at his best at Bethpage on Friday.
“This probably sounds bad, but today was a battle,” said Koepka. “I didn't strike it that good. I was leaking a few to the right. The way I hung in there today and battled it, I think that was probably more impressive than yesterday. Not having your ‘A’ game but still being able to shoot a great score. I was very, very pleased with the way I played today.”
The plan from here on in? Pretty simple: build the lead.
“I'd like to see it grow as large as it possibly can,” added Koepka. “I still have to go out there and do what I'm supposed to do. Keep putting the ball in the right spot and make sure that I don't make any double-bogeys, and I should have a good chance of winning the championship.”
At this stage, it looks less a case of ‘if’ Koepka will win and more one of ‘by how many’. To that point, it’s worth nothing that the record winning margin in a major championship is within his reach: 15 shots, set by Tiger Woods at the 2000 US Open.
Buckle up. Another piece of golfing history is, potentially, just 36 holes away.