Brooks Koepka and South African Charl Schwartzel tied the PGA Championship record round with 63s on Friday at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis.
Koepka’s 63, coupled with a first-round 69, put him two shots back of second-round leader Gary Woodland as the morning wave wrapped up in Missouri.
The 28-year-old missed a 19-foot putt on his 18th hole of the second round that would have given him a round of 62. Only one major round of 62 has ever been recorded.
“I didn’t know. I just was trying to make the thing and I really thought I made it,” Koepka said. “I didn’t even think of it. I’ve been so in the zone you don’t know where you are or where you’re at.”
For only the second time in major championship history, there were a pair of 63s posted on Friday.
Koepka became the 34th player to card 63 in a major championship, and Schwartzel increased that number with his own 63. Schwartzel was 7-under with two holes to play and also narrowly missed the record 62. After 36 holes, Schwartzel was one shot back of Koepka.
“In the practice rounds, I thought you’ve got a good chance of shooting a low score,” Schwartzel said. “I was hitting a lot of drivers. If you’re hitting it down in the fairway with the way the greens are designed, you can get the ball to about 15 feet on almost every hole. If you do that well, and, obviously, in there you’re going to make those putts. But you just feel like you can have lots of chances around here.”
Earlier this year, Tommy Fleetwood posted a 63 in the final round of the 2018 U.S. Open.
Tom Weiskopf and Jack Nicklaus tied after the first round of the 1980 U.S. Open with scores of 63.
Koepka was 3-under par playing the back nine to begin Friday. He birdied the first three holes on his back nine in succession and finished with seven birdies in a bogey-free round.
Koepka required only 25 putts on the round and hit 14 of 18 fairways.
Schwartzel, 33, recorded eight birdies and one bogey in his round.
“It’s great,” he said. “I’m looking forward to playing on the weekend and competing in a major. It doesn’t get better than that.”
—Field Level Media