EDDIE Pepperell knows his chances of success at the US PGA Championship hinge on finding form with his driver.

The Abingdon golfer crossed the Atlantic having received a confidence boost thanks to a tie for second place at the Betfred British Masters.

Pepperell was defending the title he won at Walton Heath last October, but

finished one shot behind Marcus Kinholt despite a stunning six-under par final round at Hillside, Southport


The difference between the links course on Merseyside and the Black Course at Bethpage could hardly be more stark.

For starters, the layout last week, where level-par was 72, is at least 400 yards shorter than what awaits on Long Island, which is a par 70.

It also has a fearsome reputation as one of the toughest venues for a major championship, where even six-over par is expected to make the halfway cut.

“I have only ever heard the stories,” Pepperell, whose iron play is the strongest facet of his game, said.

“I really don’t know what to expect.

“It will be a big golf course where you get your driver out and hit it as far and as straight as possible and go from there.

“It’s hosted the US Open before, so historically they are very hard.

“It will be a contrast to last week on a links course, where you don’t have to hit driver too often – it will be a completely different game.”

It will be Pepperell’s third appearance at the tournament, where he missed the cut at Whistling Straits in 2015 and finished tied for 59th place last year at Bellerive.

But one bookmaker has reported the Frilford Heath member was a popular choice as a 150-1 outsider this week.

The 28-year-old’s last major was at the Masters in April, where he finished joint 51st on debut.

He said: “I was a little frustrated with the way I played.

“But looking back now, which always tells you more about how you feel, I really enjoyed it.”

His challenge at Bethpage starts at 5.32pm (BST) today from the tenth tee, alongside South Africa’s Branden Grace and Ryan Palmer from the United States.


US Open

2013 (Merion) – Missed cut

2017 (Erin Hills) – T16th

Open Championship

2015 (St Andrews) – T49th

2018 (Carnoustie) – T6th

US PGA Championship

2015 (Whistling Straits) – Missed cut

2018 (Bellerive) – T59th


2019 (Augusta) – T51st