Brandel Chamblee says Brooks Koepka is the man to beat at the 99th PGA Championship this week.
The US Open champ is eight-and-a-half shots better - Strokes Gained, Tee to Green - than the rest of the field at Quail Hollow and Chamblee says that’s pretty special.
In his last five majors, Koepka’s worst finish is 13th.
His biggest asset, says Chamblee, is that he has obvious flaws in his game.
“What’s surprising is that he’s never played here,” Chamblee told Golf Channel. “The course fits him perfectly. The thing about him is that there are no weaknesses. At times when you see other players get to a spot, you realise that this is a weak area. You can’t find any weaknesses in his game.
“And more than that, between the ears, you can’t find any weaknesses.”
Koepka three-under 68 leaves him one behind joint leaders Thorbjorn Olesen and Kevin Kisner. Koepka is joined in third by controversial tweeter Grayson Murray and big-hitting Gary Woodland.
The 27-year-old, who won the US Open at Erin Hills in June, said his putting was off slightly, and bemoaned the speed of the greens.
Nevertheless, he knows what to expect.
“It’s gonna test your patience one way or another, so I just try to move on with everything,” said Koepka. “One shot at a time, cliché as that is… it’s so easy to get frustrated out here. A mediocre shot can end up in terrible shot. You might feel you have a really good chance that doesn’t amount to anything. That’s just a major, you’ve got to stay patient. You just can’t make doubles out here. That’s the big thing.”
David Duval, who is also part of the Golf Channel team, said Koepka is on a roll and is the player to beat.
“Is there any reason to think he won’t hit the ball that well for the rest of the week? I like what he’s thinking, which is that the big mistakes are what you need to avoid.
“He’s prepared for golf shots. He prepared to get out, move on, and minimise damage because you’re going to have opportunities. He’s impressive to watch.”
Pre-tournament favourite Rory McIlroy laboured to a one-over 72 and is back in 33rd alongside grand-slam-chasing Jordan Spieth.
Scots Russell Knox and Martin Laird both shot six-over 77s and have work to do to make the weekend.