Brooks Koepka is nearing the top of the mountain.
Kopeka, who can take the No. 1 ranking in the world with a victory in the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges if Justin Thomas finishes worse than second, shot a bogey-free, 5-under-par 67 at Nine Bridges Golf Club http://www.ninebridges.co.kr/eng/ to take a four-stroke lead over Ian Poulter of England and Scott Piercy at Nine Bridges in Jeju Island, South Korea.
“My confidence has always been pretty high,” said Koepka, who captured the U.S. Open for the second time and also won the PGA Championship this year. “Any time you can win three majors, you’re going to be feeling pretty good about yourself. To do what I’ve done over the last two years has been special, but I’m looking to build on that.
“I didn’t have any bogeys today, which was big, then I made birdies at 9 and 10 to get going, and made a nice par save at 11. My wedge game wasn’t very good today, so I have to work on that. The fairways are so tight here, you have to be a little cautious to give yourself some opportunities.”
The 28-year-old Koepka, ranked third in the world right now, birdied five of the last 10 holes to post a 54-hole score of 13-under 203.
Poulter birdied four of the last seven holes for a 67, while 36-hold leader Piercy salvaged a 72 with birdies on the last two holes.
Jamie Lovemark of Rancho Santa Fe and USC collected three birdies on the last five holes to shoot 68 and is five shots back in a tie for fourth with Pat Perez (68) of San Diego, Rafa Carbrera Bello (65) of Spain, Cameron Smith (67) of Australia, Gary Woodland (68) and first-round leader Chez Reavie (70).
Jason Day of Australia eagled the last hole to go with eight birdies in a 65 and is six behind in a tie for 10th with Ted Potter Jr., who eagled the 12th in another 65, and Ryan Armour, who had three birdies down the stretch to shoot 69.
The fourth-ranked Thomas shot 71 and is 12 strokes behind Koepka in a tie for 43rd.
For complete results, visit https://www.pgatour.com/competition/2019/the-cj-cup-at-nine-bridges/leaderboard.html