ATLANTA – Brooks Koepka found the best remedy for a little stress in his golf game.
He put together a couple of strong rounds in the Tour Championship, and he holds the lead at the midway mark in Atlanta.
“I got away from what I was doing a little bit and tried to do more shaping shots instead of just looking at it and firing,” Koepka told reporters Friday of some recent events. “My game is very simple.”
And now it’s in pretty good shape.
Koepka birdied the final hole to move into the lead through the second round at East Lake Golf Club.
Koepka shot a 3-under-par 67, leaving him with a net total of 13 under based on the weighted scoring system implemented for the FedEx Cup playoff finale.
“I just enjoy competition,” Koepka said. “I enjoy playing for something. It doesn’t matter what it is. I enjoy the — I guess some people call it pressure or nerves.”
He is up one shot on Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, who birdied the final two holes, and Justin Thomas.
McIlroy shot a 67 while Thomas posted a 68.
For the round, Thomas was 3 under through eight holes, but he proceeded to make all pars the rest of the way other than a bogey on No. 17.
Koepka, who was a co-leader entering the day, also was 3 under after eight holes. He made his lone bogey at No. 13 before recording a birdie on the par-5 18th hole.
He said he’s in a good mindset.
“Once you get that one swing thought or that one setup thought, then you’re off and running,” Koepka said.
The PGA Tour is using a new scoring format for the Tour Championship, so players began at varying levels under par based on their standing prior to the event.
McIlroy said it’s best to treat this tournament like any other, especially for the first couple of rounds, despite the different scoring format.
“You don’t want it to feel that much out of the ordinary compared to what you do week in and week out,” he said.
Xander Schauffele (69) made a late push in an up-and-down round. His birdie on No. 17 was followed by an eagle at No. 18, so he stands at 11 under, alone in fourth place.
Schauffele, who had the best round Thursday with 64, tumbled a bit Friday with three bogeys during a four-hole stretch (Nos. 8-11).
Schauffele began the tournament six strokes behind Thomas, the points leader entering the week. Schauffele won the 2017 tournament at East Lake.
“I’m just going to stick to my plan of keeping my head down and trying to avoid those leaderboards right now,” he said.
England’s Paul Casey (67) is within striking distance at 9 under, good for fifth place.
“You can (try) to be as aggressive as you can and play the odds,” Casey said.
More than half of the 30-golfer field posted an over-par score Friday.
Play was suspended for more than an hour late in the afternoon because of weather concerns. The leaders had just passed the midway mark of the round.
Australia’s Adam Scott made putts of 66 and 72 feet on the back nine, helping him to a 70 to remain at 5 under for the tournament. He is in 10th place.
Chez Reavie posted the best score of the day, a 64. Coupled with his 71 on Thursday, his tournament total is 6 under, leaving him tied for seventh place with Patrick Reed and Matt Kuchar. Patrick Cantlay is in sixth at 7 under.
Reavie played the front nine in 5 under, capped by a hole-in-one on the ninth hole. The ace came on a 230-yard hole, with the ball bouncing on the front of the green and rolling to the cup. It was his fifth hole-in-one in PGA Tour play.
–Field Level Media