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Brooks Koepka drops DJ story he’ll ‘never forget’: “I couldn’t believe that”

Brooks Koepka revealed he takes inspiration from Dustin Johnson over how to deal with adversity after he started his US PGA Championship defence strongly.

Koepka was made to work extremely hard for his four-under 67 at Valhalla Golf Club on Thursday.

The American turned in one under before a run of six pars tested his patience.

That was until he finished eagle-birdie-par to only trail Xander Schauffele by five strokes when it could’ve been far worse.

“That’s what majors are all about [patience],” he said.

“You can’t win it today, but you just try to hang around and give yourself a chance or in a good spot come Sunday.”

Koepka, 34, said he draws inspiration from the likes of Johnson and his LIV Golf teammate Graeme McDowell.

On one occasion, he watched Johnson laugh off misfortune and couldn’t fathom it.

“It was at the WGC down at Doral, Trump’s place,” Koepka said.

“He hit it right into the trees, and I’ll never forget it, he kind of punched it out and it hit the curve of the cart path, and it came back to where I was and he just laughed at it.

“And I couldn’t understand that. I was talking to my agent about it.”

He continued: “And then getting to know DJ over the years, just kind of how he thinks and how he approaches things, I think that’s his biggest attribute is kind being able to just kind of, something bad happens, just kind of let it go; and if something good happens, you don’t want to get too high, too low, just kind of stay and ride the wave a little bit. ”

Of McDowell, Koepka said: “He’s always been a gritty player and somebody that’s gotten the most out of his game, and he’s super talented.

“He’s always fighting and always trying, and just the way they play and the way they see shots and how they go about it [I appreciate].”

Koepka’s score after 18 holes saw him in a tie for sixth before the afternoon wave of players hit the field.

The five-time major champion said he wasn’t surprised to see a score as good as Schauffele’s.

“I definitely saw it out there,” he said.

Over the next few days, Koepka said he wants to be aggressive where he can but patience is still key.

“On Sunday, if you’re four back with four to play or something like that, then you’ve got to take some risks,” he said.

“But pretty much for the first three days, I’m just trying to hit the centre of the greens and get out of there.”

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