Berger back in contention in a major on Long Island
May 17, 2019
By Sean Martin , PGATOUR.COM
Daniel Berger comments after Round 2 of the PGA Championship
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – For the second consecutive year, Daniel Berger is in contention at a major on Long Island. He overcame a wrist injury and changed coaches in the interim.
Berger shot 4-under 66 on Friday to post a 36-hole total of 136. He was in third place, three shots behind Brooks Koepka, when the morning wave finished play. Koepka was scheduled to start his second round at 1:49 p.m ET.
Berger, who teed off on the 10th hole Friday, birdied his first two holes. The 10th hole has been the second-hardest hole this week. His only bogey came on No. 12, but he responded with nine consecutive pars before birdies on three of his final six holes.
“It's a major championship, and you have to perform, and you have to play 72 great holes of golf. And halfway through, I've done that,” Berger said. “So the challenge is going to be the next 36 holes, and it's not going to get any easier. So I've just got to stay patient and do the things that I did the last couple of days.”
Berger’s game has travelled well on Long Island, from the tony Shinnecock Hills in the Hamptons to this municipal masterpiece about 60 miles to the west. Shinnecock, one of the oldest clubs in the country, hosted last year’s U.S. Open.
Berger and Tony Finau played in Sunday’s final group at Shinnecock after making the cut with a shot to spare. They shot 66 early Saturday and continued to rise up the leaderboard as the field struggled with a dry layout and windy day.
Berger finished sixth after shooting 73 on Sunday. It was his only top-10 of the season.
He has just one top-10 since, a runner-up at the Puerto Rico Open earlier this year.
He said he finally feels fully healed after injuring his wrist last summer. He hopes that now he can continue on the promising trajectory he showed earlier in his career
Berger was the 2015 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year and qualified for the TOUR Championship in his first three seasons on TOUR. He won the FedEx St. Jude Invitational in both 2016 and 2017 and played in the Presidents Cup two years ago. He is 119th in this season’s FedExCup after finishing a career-worst 70th in the standings last season.
Berger sat out the remainder of the year after withdrawing from last year’s BMW Championship in September. He said it was only about six weeks ago that his wrist finally felt back to normal, allowing him to practice and play as much as he’d like.
It was around that time that he started working with a new coach, Cameron McCormick. He also teaches Berger’s fellow member of the Class of 2011, Jordan Spieth. McCormick has helped Berger develop new short-game shots. That came in handy Friday, when Berger hit just half his greens.
“Around the greens, it's just been learning some different shots and some different variety of shots that I didn't have,” Berger said. “I never knew that I had some the ability that I had around the greens that I feel like I was able to bring out in the last couple of weeks.”
Daniel Berger's solid chip shot on No. 10 at PGA Championship