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FedExCup: Brooks Koepka leads by one from Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas | Golf News

By August 24, 2019 No Comments
FedExCup: Brooks Koepka leads by one from Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas | Golf News

Koepka leads the way in Atlanta as Thomas and McIlroy keep pace with the world No 1 at the PGA Tour’s season-finale.

By Keith Jackson

Last Updated: 24/08/19 1:42am

3:14

The best shots from the second round at East Lake in Atlanta, featuring a historic hole-in-one, a great escape from the trees and a classy finish from the world No 1.

The best shots from the second round at East Lake in Atlanta, featuring a historic hole-in-one, a great escape from the trees and a classy finish from the world No 1.

Brooks Koepka birdied the final hole of a weather-delayed second round to snatch the outright lead ahead of Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas at the Tour Championship.

Koepka’s lone birdie of an erratic back nine at East Lake capped a 67 which took him to the top of the leaderboard on 13 under par, one ahead of McIlroy and Thomas while Xander Schauffele did well to finish in red numbers when he holed a big putt for eagle at the last to close on 11 under.

Rory McIlroy birdied the last two holes on day two

Rory McIlroy birdied the last two holes on day two

World No 1 Koepka made a steady start with five straight pars before he picked up his first birdie of the day with an excellent up-and-down from sand at the long sixth, and he backed that up with two birdies in a row to join Thomas at the top of the leaderboard.

But a delay of an hour and a half due to the threat of lightning seemed to thwart both Koepka and Thomas when play resumed, with Koepka’s iron game suddenly deserting him as a wayward approach to the 13th cost him his first blemish of the round.

Reavie’s historic ace

Chez Reavie makes the first hole-in-one on the 230-yard ninth in Tour Championship history

Koepka scrambled pars after poor drives at 14 and 16, but he smote one of the shots of the day at the last with a towering 240-yard long-iron to eight feet, although he mis-read the putt for eagle and had to settle for his fourth birdie.

That lifted him clear of Thomas and McIlroy, who recovered from a bogey at the first with a good run of pars and a birdie at the long sixth and, unlike Koepka and Thomas, the storm delay galvanised the 2016 champion on the resumption.

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McIlroy birdied the 12th and atoned for a couple of missed chances with an assured putt from 15 feet at the 17th, and he got away with a blocked drive into the trees at the last as he carved his second into a favourable lie in between the greenside bunkers, pitched to three feet and knocked in the putt to card a 67.

“You need your scrambling boots on this week, and I scrambled well and I’ve only made two bogeys over the first 36 holes, which is a big key to doing well around here,” he said. “It was great to finish with those two great birdies.

“I got lucky on 18. I didn’t hit a very good drive, and then I had a shot to get it up near the green with my second, and then once I hit that, I had a great lie for my third, and I just sort of rode my luck the whole way along that hole.

2:50 Rory McIlroy was delighted with his birdie-birdie finish to the second round of the Tour Championship as he trails Brooks Koepka by just one shot heading into the weekend.

Rory McIlroy was delighted with his birdie-birdie finish to the second round of the Tour Championship as he trails Brooks Koepka by just one shot heading into the weekend.

“Being three or four behind those guys for the most part of the day and then to catch JT and only be one back of Brooks, it was nice to finish the way I did.”

McIlroy’s playing partner Thomas, who started the season-ending tournament with a two-shot lead on 10 under, was far more consistent than on day one as he cruised to the turn in 32 with birdies at the third, sixth and eighth before his momentum was scuppered by the suspension in play.

Justin Thomas started well but faltered after the delay

Justin Thomas started well but faltered after the delay

Thomas was unable to make a birdie on the back nine and had to dig deep to salvage a series of pars, although he could not avoid a dropped shot at the 17th which could have been worse having taken four shots just to find the green.

A missed birdie chance from five feet at the last summed up the second half of his 68 as he ended the day in a share of second with McIlroy, while Schauffele’s spirited birdie-eagle finish hauled him back into contention just two behind the leader.

4:12 Paul Casey explains how he managed to hit the wrong club on the final hole of day two at the Tour Championship, and he exonerated his caddie of any blame.

Paul Casey explains how he managed to hit the wrong club on the final hole of day two at the Tour Championship, and he exonerated his caddie of any blame.

Paul Casey’s encouraging form continued as he mixed five birdies with two bogeys in a 67 which lifted him to 10 under, and he would be tied for the lead with McIlroy had the handicap system not been in play this week in Atlanta.

Casey did, however, admit to a bizarre error at the last when a mix-up in clubs led to a missed green which cost him the chance of another birdie, and he was quick to exonerate caddie, John McClaren, of any blame.

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“So I get the yardage from Johnny, grabbed the four-iron and hit a beautiful shot, it couldn’t have been any better looking, and it one-hopped over the back,” said the Englishman. “Johnny looked like he was in trouble, he’s got his hand on his mouth, biting his tongue.

“I didn’t give him a glare or anything, but then I look down and realised I hit the three-iron, not the four-iron! At least it’s Friday, and we’re not playing for much this week so it’s not important!”

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