Koepka just one shot behind Piercy in Korea

Ryder Cup duo well placed heading into the weekend of CJ Cup

Brooks Koepka of the United States hits his second shot at the 10th hole during the first round of the PGA Tour's CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges at the Club at Nine Bridges in Seogwipo, Jeju Island, on October 18, 2018.

Sharma, who had two bogeys in his first six holes, came back strongly with four birdies from the 7th to 10th, only to lose the momentum over the next three holes, which he bogeyed.

Koepka's playing partner and defending champion Justin Thomas also eagled the hole to finish with a 70 and a tie for 22nd, eight behind Piercy.

It wasn't just the drives that took the blow.

Last year's Fedex Cup champion's round never really recovered from a calamity at the fourth hole where he four-putted for a double bogey.

"I'm excited to start the season off", said Koepka, who claimed two of the four majors in 2018 and was the USA tour's player of the year.

Playing partner and fellow Major victor Scott recorded six bogeys in a mixed 75 highlighted by a precise downhill putt for birdie on the ninth.

"(My swing) was dialled in today, I guess. The American said he didn't want to risk dropping shots. Hopefully, I can play well again and go one better than a year ago", he said."The course is unbelievable.

"Then, there was a wait on the 11th hole and I was in between clubs so I was trying to hit a soft rescue. The key was not to be overaggressive on a tough day".

Swede Alex Noren shot a 65 to lie four off the pace, tied for fourth with Briton Ian Poulter, an island of European defiance in a leaderboard dominated by Americans. Willett said it helped to have played at the British Masters in similarly windy conditions just last week. Teryn Schaefer presents the best social media posts from around the world of golf in "Good, Bad & Unusual" and after each day's play brings you the biggest talking points in "The Takeaway". "From the onset, you know you've got to stay patient and try to hit a lot of good shots and see if you can get some birdie putts", Willett said. "It was a different golf course than it was yesterday, you were able to take advantage of these par 5s", said Koepka, who opened in 71 on Day 1. "I gave up on it and the guys in the group thought, 'No, no, hang on, it's still rolling.' I just saw it on TV and it just got there".

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