Whatever happened to the ferocious Bethpage Black? You know, the place that all the golfers feared to tread and there is even a warning sign on the first tee.
Heck in 2002, the world marveled as everyone who played – except Tiger Woods – got destroyed by its difficulty and conditions.
But now, Brooks Koepka is making it look easy, going into the last day to up seven strokes and setting course records.
The Black ain’t that bad.
“I mean, it’s incredible,” Keopka said. “These fans are very energetic. New York’s always got some of the best fans. It’s a true sporting town. It’s fun to play in front of them. I enjoy it. I enjoy hearing the cheers. It’s actually kind of fun hearing some of the boos, too, when you miss a short one like 9. You pretty much deserve that.
“But it’s really enjoyable to play in front of them and feel that electricity. I felt it all week playing with Tiger. You know what you’re going to get, but even today, there was a lot of people out there and it was fun to play in front of them.”
Look, Keopka is on historic run, looking to become the first person to be the two-time defending US Open Champion and PGA Chmapion at the same time. No matter what the course, it wouldn’t be able to tame Brooks here.
But even the rest of the field with second place being 5-under, tells us the varsity may have caught up to the Black. These days the golfers are in better shape with more modern equipment, which allows them to have a better chance on a long course like this one.
Of course there will always be a complaint or two, but unlike Shinnecock last year, where the USGA’s placement of the holes made it too difficult for everyone, Bethpage has been called a very fair course from most of the field.
Now, after the historic first two days Koepka played conservatively yesterday and will look to do the same today. Starting last he knows the field has to catch up to him, so and even-70 is what he’s looking for out there.
“I feel confident,” he said “I feel good. I feel excited. I’m excited. I was excited just to get to the course today, and then try to build that lead, but didn’t happen. It’s a tough day. It’s not going to be — it would have been really hard to shoot 4- or 5-under. I don’t know if anybody did that today or not, but it was a difficult day, and any time the wind’s going to be blowing 15 at Bethpage Black, you’re in for a real test.
“I feel confident going into tomorrow. I don’t know what the forecast is. But if I can hit a few fairways, there’s really a couple key holes out here, you know, you play 7 well, play 10 and 12 well, and then from there, you just hit the center of the greens and try to par this place to death.”
A smart play.