A healthy Brooks Koepka is a dangerous Brooks Koepka and that’s how it has panned out through 36 holes of the Masters at Augusta National after he opened up a four-shot lead.
Form like this has been three years in the making for Koepka who admits had his body been feeling as good as it is currently, his decision to leave the PGA Tour for LIV Golf would have been a tougher one.
“Honestly, yeah, probably, if I’m being completely honest,” said Koepka after his second round 67. “I think it would have been. But I’m happy with the decision I made.”
Koepka revealed midweek that he missed playing against the likes of Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler and there was much speculation over how the atmosphere would be between PGA Tour and LIV golfers.
The feeling has been a cordial one but that doesn’t mean victory wouldn’t taste a little sweeter.
“It certainly ticks a lot of boxes,” said Koepka when asked if winning the Masters would mean more given the current split in golf.
The four-time major champion’s major championship exemption will expire at the end of the 2024 season with a place in the top-50 unlikely if LIV haven’t been awarded ranking points by then.
That won’t stop Koepka hunting a career grand slam however.
“Yeah, the whole goal is to win the Grand Slam, right,” said the American. “I feel like all the greats have won here and they have all won British Opens as well. Look, I guess it’s one more box for me to tick to truly feel like I’ve done what I should have accomplished in this game.”
At the time of writing, Koepka has a four-shot lead over amateur sam Bennett on twelve-under-par. His goal after an opening 65 was to break out in front before the bad weather hits and he has done so, although it could have been better had he been sharper with the putter on the back nine.
His luck seemed to even out as he held a handful of clutch 6-8 foot par putts on the front nine, before he eagled the par-5 8th to steal a march on the field.
“I think they were just big momentum putts, and I think that’s one of the things that’s kind of been lacking, along with playing bad, making bad decisions, has just been kind of those momentum swingers. They haven’t gone in for me. But also you create your own momentum, anyways, and I think making those was huge, just kind of going forward, getting through the rest of the round, trying to keep it bogey-free and then was able to do it.
“But as far as crouching down, it feels good. It feels really good. Being able to just get down and not have to think about it, because every time I went down, I was reminded of it. I was reminded of the slip, the trying to put it back in and then finally getting it to go in and the rehab and all that stuff. Every time I went down, I was just angry with myself because I was just thinking, man, how stupid is this.”
Koepka has dropped just one shot all week on the par-5 13th (yesterday) but he was clinical on the four par fives in round two, playing them in five-under in a bogey-free round.
“Yeah, it was really solid. Didn’t really do too much wrong. Maybe the speed kind of got me on a few putts. Wasn’t hitting them hard enough there towards the end, but striking the ball really well and leaving it in good spots.
“And that’s what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to make birdies on these par 5s, take advantage of them. And did a good job of that, playing them 5-under.”
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