10 Notes to know: PGA Championship, Round 2

May 18, 2019
Justin Ray
  1. Brooks Koepka continued his re-writing of golf’s record books, posting a 36-hole total score of 128 – the lowest 36-hole total score in men’s major championship history. His mark of 12-under is the best-ever 36-hole score to par in a PGA Championship. He’s done it with a complete performance through the bag: Koepka leads the field in strokes gained tee to green and is 12th in strokes gained putting.
  1. Koepka leads by a ridiculous seven shots, the largest 36-hole lead in a major championship in nearly eighty years. The only other instance of a player leading a major by seven or more since 1900 was Henry Cotton, who led the 1934 Open Championship by nine. Cotton won by five that week.
  1. If you made the cut at Bethpage Black and your name isn’t Brooks Koepka, you are at least seven shots off the lead. No player has won the PGA Championship when trailing by seven or more after 36 holes since Payne Stewart did it in 1989. Brooks Koepka was born in 1990.
  1. Koepka is now a combined 67-under in major championships since the 2016 PGA Championship began. That is 24 shots better than any other player during that stretch (Jordan Spieth, -43).
  1. This is the eleventh major championship round Brooks Koepka has led or co-led since the beginning of 2017. In that span, no other player has led more than six times – Spieth and Kevin Kisner share that distinction.
  1. Spieth has an historic performance ahead of him on the leaderboard, but this week has one very positive statistical omen: this week is the fourth time in his career he has opened a major championship with two consecutive rounds in the 60s. The previous three times he did it, he won (2015 Masters, 2015 U.S. Open, 2017 Open).
  1. Spieth is playing the PGA for the third time with an opportunity to complete the career grand slam. Both Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus won in their third attempts to close it – at the U.S. Open and Open Championship, respectively. Spieth is trying to complete the slam at age 25 – he would be second-youngest in the elite club to do it, behind only Tiger Woods (age 24).
  1. Woods missed his ninth career cut in a major championship as a professional. Tiger is one of two active players who have more victories in major championships than missed cuts – Koepka (three wins, two missed cuts) is the other.
  1. 2002 PGA Champion Rich Beem shot 30 on the back nine Friday, the lowest nine-hole score by any player on either side through two rounds. Beem, who had not played a competitive tournament in 2019, led the field Friday in strokes gained putting (+5.23).
  1. With a win this week, Koepka will have claimed two titles in two different majors before the age of 30. Since the first Masters was held in 1934, the only players to achieve that feat are Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros and Tiger Woods.