He wasn’t done.
Koepka birdied 9. He birdied 12 and 13. He birdied 15 and 17. He dropped a 38-footer on 18 for, yes, birdie. Koepka had the best final 10-hole score on Friday, playing 10 through 18 at 6-under, to miss the cut by just a stroke.
“Yeah, I mean, that’s what you’ve got to do,” Koepka said. “I never give up, never think you’re out of it, and you’ve just got to battle through it no matter what you’re doing. That’s part of why you’re out here.
“You’re a pro, you just sack up and do it.”
Koepka did it with his iron play.
On 9, he knocked his approach within about 5 feet. On 12, he was within about 2 feet. On 13, he was within about 4 feet. On the par-5 15, he hit a bunker shot to within about 4 feet. On 17, he hit within about 7 feet. Five birdies, none longer than about 2 yards.
“It was pretty gutsy,” said Justin Thomas, one of Koepka’s playing partners the first two days. “I would still take it as a chance. … But it’s a funny game. I’ve been in that position before, unfortunately, or we all have, but it’s almost like when you stop caring you start playing better. There’s a lesson somewhere in that, but it’s hard to go out there and play and not care.”
The finish, apparently, was good enough for Koepka to play at Muirfield Village next week, too.
At about 5 p.m. ET, the PGA Tour released the field for next week’s Memorial, the second of back-to-back events in Dublin, Ohio. Koepka wasn’t in. A few hours later, after Koepka finished his round, the PGA Tour re-released the field. Players do have 30 minutes after their round to decide to enter the next week’s event. Koepka was in.
The Memorial will also be Bryson DeChambeau’s first tournament since winning the Rocket Mortgage two weeks ago. DeChambeau, at times, has recently referred to himself as the “house” or the “casino” with his game, which has undergone a muscular metamorphosis – he wants to put the odds in his favor. DeChambeau and Koepka, at times, have also feuded.
Koepka used a gambling reference when asked about playing next week.
He’s currently 155th in the FedEx Cup standings, and only its top 30 make the Tour Championship in Atlanta in early September. Koepka said he needs to make a run.
“I think it’s pretty simple,” Koepka said. “I didn’t plan on playing, but things change, and I’d like to be in Atlanta. That’s what you’ve got to do.
“I’m going to basically run the table.”