Brooks Koepka threw down the gauntlet, muscling his way to a five-shot lead, which has been pulled back to three at time of writing by Jon Rahm, and then ruling out any notion of a rules violation on the second day of the 87th hosting of the Masters.
Koepka, 32, grabbed an eagle and three birdies in a five-under-par 67 and moved into double figures at 12-under in ideal early morning conditions but before play was suspended for a short while at 3.07pm local time due to impending storms at Augusta National.
Another weather delay came at 4:22pm local time and all patrons were evacuated from the grounds and play remains suspended (again at time of writing).
Four-time major champion Koepka is contesting an eighth Masters, and clearly buried the Augusta demons in missing the cut the past two years to superbly boost his chance of earning a maiden Augusta National member’s green jack
“Yeah, it was really solid,” said Koepka. “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”.
There was no escaping a question concerning an incident yesterday with his caddy, Ricky Elliott when the likes of fellow Irishman and SKY analyst, Paul McGinley was adamant that Elliott had ‘blatantly’ mouthed to Gary Woodland’s caddy, Brendan Little that they had used a 5-iron second shot at the par-5 15th.
However, Koepka knew nothing about what may have taken place between his caddy or Woodland’s caddy.
“Yeah, we were just — when I finished today’s round, they were brought in — like I said, I’m taking my glove off,” Koepka said. “The last thing I’m going to do is give it to Gary Woodland, the U.S. Open champ. And the funny part about it is I think if he would have known we were hitting five, he would have hit six because I don’t think Gary is that short and he’s 10 in front of me, 12 in front of me?”
Scottish caddie Craig Connelly, who works for two-time major winner Martin Kaymer, said on Twitter the incident was an “absolute non-starter” in his mind.
“Happens every single day, multiple times a round,” Connelly wrote. “And, if there’s a caddie out there who says they’ve never done it, then they’re talking s****!”
Koepka arrived at Augusta in the best of form winning last week’s LIV event in Orlando while a Masters victory would see him become the 21st golfer to win more than five major championships however he’s chasing a bigger goal.
“The whole goal is to win the Grand Slam, right? I feel like all the greats have won here and they have all won British Opens as well”, he said.
“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”.
With a pair of US Open titles (2017 & ’18) and two PGA Championships (2018 & ’19) a third leg of the Grand Slam is just two rounds away.
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