Brooks Koepka begins Ryder Cup rebound in Round 1 of Alfred Dunhill Links

KINGBARNS, SCOTLAND - OCTOBER 04: Brooks Koepka of The United States plays his second shot on the 18th during day one of the 2018 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at Kingsbarns Golf Links on October 4, 2018 in Kingsbarns, Scotland. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images) Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Brooks Koepka begins Ryder Cup rebound in Round 1 of Alfred Dunhill Links

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Brooks Koepka begins Ryder Cup rebound in Round 1 of Alfred Dunhill Links

If Brooks Koepka was hoping to ease back into regular tournament golf after losing the Ryder Cup, then he got a bit of a shock in the opening round of the $5 million Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

After getting blown away by the European team in Paris, Koepka had to guard against getting blown away in the strong breezes that blew across Kingsbarns. He managed to tame the wind in the opening round, and also beat little brother Chase by nine shots. The Koepka brothers are playing together this week.

Brooks Koepka returned a 2-under-par 70 versus Chase’s 79 to sit in joint eighth place alongside Ryder Cup opponent and defending champion Tyrrell Hatton. They are two shots behind joint leaders Matt Wallace of England and Australia’s Marcus Fraser.

“It feels pretty good,” Koepka said. “Obviously it’s tough conditions, the wind is blowing, I’m pleased with my round.”

He should be on a day when scores in the high 70s were the norm, and eight players failed to break 80. Koepka, a three-time major winner, wanted to get a decent round under his belt ahead of a date with Carnoustie tomorrow.

“Any time you play some links golf, the more rounds of links golf you can get going into Carnoustie is going to be good. I played it on Wednesday, it wasn’t blowing too bad. Carnoustie can be very difficult in some wind and hopefully it stays calm enough.”

Hatton is looking to win the tournament for the third straight year. He made a bad start by playing Kingsbarn’s front nine in two over before bouncing back with birdies at the second, fifth, sixth and eighth holes. He also faces a second-round date with Carnoustie, this year’s Open Championship venue.

“I’m hoping Carnoustie will be not so windy,” Hatton said.

“It’s a course that I’m pretty comfortable on so hopefully I can keep playing well and post a good score.”

Tommy Fleetwood posted a 1-under 71 at Kingsbarns, while Tony Finau was two shots worse with a 73 at the same venue.

Ireland’s Padraig Harrington, who served as a European vice-captain last week, returned a 3-under 69 at Kingsbarns. He’s one shot off the lead in a tie for third place with 2014 European captain Paul McGinley.

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