Tommy Fleetwood says he would not be surprised to see Brooks Koepka’s name at the top of the leaderboard on Sunday after the reigning US PGA champion carded a seven-under 63 to take a one-shot lead after the first round at Bethpage (Fleetwood 12/1 Outright Betting).
Fleetwood, who shot a three-under 67 on Thursday, finished second to Koepka (13/10) at last year’s US Open and has since seen the 29-year-old American continue to perform impressively at the majors.
The world number three won last year’s USPGA at Bellerive by two strokes from Tiger Woods (23/20 Mythical Threeballs) and the 15-time major winner was the only player ahead of Keopka (17/20, Tie 8/1) at Augusta last month when he completed his memorable comeback.
“Brooks does a very good job at majors – I think we all know that,” said Fleetwood. “I sure wouldn’t be surprised if he was still there on Sunday.
“I think when you get to majors, there’s definitely certain names and certain people that you’ve got to beat, and most of the time certain names and people pop up on the leaderboard. But that’s the game, and that’s what we’re here for.”
Fleetwood is best remembered stateside for his final-round 63 at Shinnecock Hills last year to tie the US Open tournament record, although he still finished one shot behind Koepka.
He said a virus had left him tired last week when he closed with a disappointing 73 at the British Masters – an event he hosted in Southport.
But the Englishman has declared he is fully recovered as he plots his way around the demanding par-70, 7,459-yard course in Long Island.
“I’ve got no virus this week,” he said after making six birdies and three bogeys in his opening round on Thursday.
“I’ve recovered, so I feel much, much better, and it was good getting here and preparing for a golf course I absolutely love. That keeps you going easily.”
Odds subject to change