Todd surges into the lead at WGC as Koepka falters

Brendon Todd shot a 65 on Friday to take the second-round lead at the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational in Memphis, Tenn.

Brooks Koepka, who led after his first-round 62 on Thursday at TPC Southwind, started Friday on the back nine and had three birdies that were offset by two bogeys and a double bogey, the result of a three-putt from 4 feet on hole No. 2. He finished with a 1-over 71.

After shooting a 64 on Thursday, Todd followed with five birdies in his 5-under round to take a two-shot lead over Rickie Fowler. Tied with Todd in second place entering play Friday, Fowler carded a 67.

“Another solid round all around, but mostly with the short game,” Todd said after his round. “I have not hit the ball as crisply the first two days and maybe some other tournaments this year, but I’ve probably putted the best of any tournament this year so far. You know, I’m really excited about how I played and looking forward to the opportunity this weekend.”

By contrast, Koepka blamed his putter for his Friday woes. For the tournament, Koepka stands at a 7-under score of 133 and in a tie with South Korean Byeong-Hun An (65) and Chez Reavie (67) for third place.

“I just putted bad,” he said. “It wasn’t really anything other than that. Felt stress-free other than just missing some short ones. On the back nine they felt good, they were just missing, and on the front they just weren’t good putts.”

Fowler saw his first two rounds as a positive on his season. He has missed the cut in three of five tournaments since PGA Tour play resumed in June after the season halted amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Yeah, this year hasn’t been my greatest. Been working on a lot of stuff,” he said Friday. “I think this year’s been interesting for a lot of people as far as just how everything’s coming about, from quarantine to playing, not playing. I feel like I’m heading in the right direction.

“I think that’s been my main goal is go through some changes for the better. Sometimes you’ve got to take that step back to take two steps forward. I feel like we already made the step back. I feel like we’ve made a step forward. I’m looking for that next step.”

Jon Rahm, who supplanted Rory McIlroy on July 20 as the World No. 1, followed his opening-round 70 with a four-over 74 to sit in a 10-way tie for 62nd place. The Spaniard’s round featured three double bogeys to go along with three birdies and a bogey, a day after an uneven round that included four birdies and four bogies.

In sixth place are Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick (64) and South Korean Sung Kang (69) at 6-under 134.

Four players are tied in eighth place at 5-under: Webb Simpson (66), Sungjae Im of South Korea (68), Australian Jason Day (67) and Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa (67).

Todd has two wins on the 2019-20 season: the Bermuda Championship and Mayakoba Golf Classic, both played in November.

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