Brooks Koepka carded rounds of 65 and 67 over the primary two days to prime the leaderboard at The Masters, the place victory would give him his fifth main title and first since becoming a member of LIV; watch all through the weekend completely reside on Sky Sports activities Golf
By Ali Stafford at Augusta Nationwide
Final Up to date: 08/04/23 12:41am
Brooks Koepka is the person to beat heading into the weekend at The Masters, with the previous world No 1 in a a lot better place than throughout his earlier two visits to Augusta Nationwide.
Koepka received 4 majors between 2017 and 2019 and contended in a number of others, earlier than a string of knee and hip accidents – a few of which had been highlighted within the current Netflix ‘Full Swing’ collection – made him worry for his future on the highest degree.
The American might barely stoop to learn putts throughout his missed reduce at The Masters in 2021, the place he tried to hurry again simply weeks after knee surgical procedure, and he was left annoyed once more when back-to-back 75s noticed him make an early exit in final yr’s contest.
“I do not even know if I must be saying this, however fairly positive I attempted to interrupt the again window with my fist of the automobile,” Koepka admitted on Friday. “I attempted to place it via the again window, not as soon as however twice. First time did not go, so figured strive it once more.
“Yeah, it was numerous frustration final yr. Tremendous annoying. I’ve come a great distance since then.”
The Masters – Stay
April 8, 2023, 7:30pm
Koepka has not featured on the PGA Tour since then, struggling along with his health throughout disappointing performances on the PGA Championship and US Open earlier than confirming later that month he can be becoming a member of the LIV Golf circuit.
When requested whether or not a more healthy Koepka would have discovered his resolution to maneuver tougher, he admitted: “If I am being fully trustworthy, I believe it might have been. However I am pleased with the choice I made.
“If I wasn’t going to have the ability to transfer the best way I needed to, I did not wish to play the sport anymore. It is simply that easy. There was positively moments of that. Final yr was fairly powerful. Simply numerous frustration.”
Constructive steps return for Koepka with LIV
Koepka continued to battle with type and health earlier than turning a nook with an inaugural LIV Golf victory in October, claiming play-off victory in Jeddah, whereas one other win on the LIV Golf occasion in Orlando final Sunday gave him loads of confidence going into the opening main of the yr.
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April 8, 2023, 8:00am
“In all probability in the direction of the tip of final yr, I felt it was coming,” Koepka stated. “It wasn’t precisely all the best way there. In all probability, I might say January I knew I used to be again. I knew every little thing was proper the place it wanted to be strength-wise, mobility-wise and with the ability to do issues with the golf swing.”
Koepka stated after changing into the primary a number of winner on the Saudi-backed circuit that it might be “an enormous assertion” if one of many 18-strong LIV contingent might declare the Inexperienced Jacket this week, with the 32-year-old laying down a marker himself and setting the clubhouse goal with a dominant two days.
“I really feel actually good,” Koepka stated after a bogey-free 67 on Friday. “I like the best way I am swinging the golf membership, placing it, chipping it, driving it, iron play is strong. It feels actually related [to his run of major success]. Did not actually do an excessive amount of flawed.”
The beginning of one thing greater for Brooks?
Koepka will head into what’s scheduled to be a weather-disrupted weekend because the agency favorite so as to add to his main tally, though the eight-time PGA Tour winner already has one eye on becoming a member of golf’s most unique membership.
“The entire objective is to win the Grand Slam, proper,” Koepka stated. “I really feel like all of the greats have received right here and so they have all received The Open as nicely. Look, I suppose it [winning at Augusta] is another field for me to tick to really really feel like I’ve completed what I ought to have completed on this sport.”
There was a interval in golf the place you felt Koepka was going to win virtually each main he teed it up in. Based mostly on the primary two rounds, it might be no shock to see these instances return.
“He’s taking part in lovely golf,” Sky Sports activities’ Butch Harmon stated. “He’s not going backwards. The others are going to have to return and get him.”
Watch The Masters all through the weekend reside on Sky Sports activities. Stay protection continues from the sooner time of 1pm on Saturday on Sky Sports activities Golf, with a number of bonus feeds out there by way of the pink button.