'Butcher' Brooks Koepka a cut above the rest at US PGA Championship

Who can stop the record-breaking butcher of Bethpage? Certainly not his playing partner Tiger Woods
, who will not be around for the weekend after missing the halfway cut in the 101st USPGA Championship.
Maybe Adam Scott
, although even a brilliant round of 64 has still left him miles behind. Perhaps Jordan Spieth
and Dustin Johnson, who did their best to deliver 'don't forget about us' messages but to little avail at day's end. Or maybe the English trio Matt Wallace, Justin Rose or Tommy Fleetwood?
Quite honestly, you're indulging in a straw-clutching exercise making a case for any of them or indeed anyone else. Following breathtaking rounds of 63 and 65 for a mammoth seven stroke lead, the only man capable is the butcher himself, for there's no way Brooks Koepka is not completing a successful defence of his title unless he gives plenty of help to everyone else.
Becoming the first man in major championship history to break 130 for two rounds, and by two stokes at Bethpage Black, of all places, at that? In the locker room before the event began, five under was considered a possible winning score. Rory McIlroy considered four 68s for eight under would definitely get the job done. Well, here's Koepka on 12 under at halfway. The butcher has left Bethpage Black and blue.
No golfer in history, not Tiger or even Jack Nicklaus, has ever followed holding on to one major by doing the same in another, but here's Koepka, who's won the US Open for the last two years, on the cusp of a monumental achievement.
His start on Friday was simply stunning to behold. During the morning we'd seen Spieth offer a telling reminder of his class while Johnson did some butchering of his own.
Furthermore, Koepka had to sit all morning on his lead and contemplate how difficult it is to follow up a fabulous score. Ahead of him was a test so difficult that former Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn said he never played a course more soul-destroying.
It made no difference to the butcher. If there's a golf equivalent of leaving blood all over the fairways, here it was as Koepka began birdie-birdie-par-birdie. We might have to go back to Tiger in his prime to find a stretch of golf that so punctured the life out of an event, and made the final outcome appear a formality.
Of course, the rest must continue to ask the questions and hope for some show of vulnerability over the weekend. To which we say: good luck with that one, gentlemen.
We also have to go back to Tiger in his prime to find the last time someone delivered such 36 holes of dominance. If the start was blistering, what about his mighty response to the temerity of dropping his first shot of the tournament at the 10th?
At the par five 13th he became the first man all day to find the green in two, and two-putted for a birdie. At the 15th and 16th - two difficult par fours, it should be emphasised - his iron shots finished four foot away in both instances. The butcher had surely brought down his cleaver.
Alongside him, Woods's play stood in stark contrast. It always looked a tall order to come here without playing since the Masters, and so it proved. In the evening shadows, after all the excitement going into the event, Augusta National suddenly seemed like a long time ago.
Scott was the man who played with Koepka in the final round of the PGA last year and watched him usher in his era. He sounded almost deflated when he looked at the leader board and saw he was still seven back. 'It looks as if I'm going to need two more really low rounds simply to have a chance,' he said.
Wallace got within six shots at one stage with four birdies in five holes but two late bogeys have left him eight adrift. Rose shot a fine 67 but is still nine strokes behind, while Fleetwood's hopes of setting up a rematch of last year's US Open duel with Koepka on Long Island surely went with a poor back nine played in four over. He finished with a 71 to be ten back.
Earlier, how good to see Spieth clamber his way back to something approaching his best, as he needed just 23 putts in a 66.
'I felt I had good control of my game and it was nice to roll in some putts,' said the 25 year old. 'I made some good par putts on my front nine to keep the momentum going and then took advantage when I had birdie chances.'
The best round of the morning wave, though, came from Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick, who shaved no fewer than ten strokes off his opening round of 75.
'It sounds like a drastic improvement, but it didn't feel like that,' he said. 'I just made all the putts I missed on the opening day.' 
So to the weekend. Goodbye to the Masters champion. Hail the defending champion.

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