Brooks Koepka leads in Memphis after Pete Cowen pep talk

Former World No.1 Brooks Koepka shot his career low round on the PGA Tour to take an early lead at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational and admitted a visit from Pete Cowen was all it needed to fire him up.

Koepka had been in subdued form since the restart, missing two cuts including last week’s 3M Open, which allowed him the opportunity to hunker down for lengthy sessions with Cowen.

“You can do video sessions all you want, but at the same time you can’t read ball flights,” said Koepka after firing a 62 to lead on 8-under ahead of Rickie Fowler and Brendan Todd.

“If there was ever a good cut to miss, I think it was that one.”

It was the first time Koepka had seen Cowen since The Players Championship in March and the two spent Sunday working together before he headed to Tennessee.

Despite missing last week’s cut, in the second round Koepka produced his best statistical ball-striking display since May 2019 and he carried that forward in Memphis, where he is defending champion.

Turned a Corner

Koepka also defends next week’s PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park and Cowen believes he has turned a corner.

“When you’re not playing that well it’s not that big of a deal. You think you’ve lost your game totally, but you haven’t. You’re crying wolf as well, saying, I don’t know if I really want to play. You can’t cry wolf, because if you cry wolf too often no one listens to you,” Cowen told GolfChannel.com.

“I said, ‘With an attitude like that you’re not winning anything,’. He needs (to hear) it sometimes and there aren’t many people who can say it to him.”

Meanwhile at the European Tour’s Hero Open a clutch of Spaniards stole the limelight as Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez produced the round of the day – a 10-under-par 62 – and Miguel Angel Jimenez shone in his record-setting 707th start on the circuit with a 64.

Jimenez sits alongside compatriot and former Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship winner Pablo Larrazabal and Joachim B Hansen in second place with Welshman Oliver Farr in fifth (65).

Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain lines up his putt at the Hero Open
Miguel Angel Jimenez of Spain lines up his putt on the 18th green during the first round of the Hero Open

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