Confident Woods heads into US Open; Koepka eyes treble - GulfToday

Confident Woods heads into US Open; Koepka eyes treble

Brooks-koepka

Brooks Koepka tees off on the second hole during the first round of the Canadian Open in Hamilton, Ontario, on Thursday. Associated Press

Tiger Woods, his 15th major secured at the Masters, is on the rise again heading into the US Open at Pebble Beach, scene of one of the US superstar’s most dominant triumphs.

“My game is right where I feel like it needs to be,” Woods said after firing a final-round 67 at the Memorial on Sunday.

“Each day I got a little more crisp,” said Woods, who was out of the running for a sixth Memorial title heading into Sunday, but lit up the front nine with five birdies at Muirfield Village before coming home in even par to sneak into the top 10 -- albeit 10 shots behind winner Patrick Cantlay.

“I was hoping I could get something positive going into the Open and I was able to accomplish that,” said Woods, who opted not to play between his Masters victory and the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black where he missed the cut.

There’s no doubt that Woods will be better prepared for the 119th US Open, which tees off on June 13 on the iconic California coastal course where he won by a record 15 strokes in 2000.

Meanwhile, Brooks Koepka knows history is beckoning at the US Open at Pebble Beach -- and that’s just the kind of challenge to get the big-hitting American’s juices flowing. Koepka will arrive at the scenic course overlooking Carmel Bay with a chance to become just the second player to win three straight US Open titles -- and the first to do it since Willie Anderson in 1903, ‘04 and ‘05.

“The name has come up quite a bit in the last year,” Koepka said of Anderson -- who won four of five US Opens from 1901-05.

“I know what I’m chasing and trying to accomplish.”

“There’s no pressure,” Koepka said as he prepared for his US Open tuneup at the Canadian Open.

Meanwhile, Keegan Bradley fired seven birdies in a seven-under-par 63 on Thursday to take the first-round lead at the US PGA Tour Canadian Open, last tune-up for the US Open at Pebble Beach.

There are plenty of players within striking distance, starting with the group on 65 of Canadian Nick Taylor, Ireland’s Shane Lowry, South Korean Im Sung-jae, South African Erik Van Rooyen and American Roberto Castro.

Agence France-Presse