Brooks Koepka surges clear at The Masters, a year on from trying to smash his car window after missing cut
What a difference a year makes.
“I think last year, I don’t even know if I should say this, but I definitely tried to break the back window of my car with my fist,” Koepka told reporters. said
“Not once but twice. Didn’t go the first time, so try again. It was very frustrating last year, very annoying, but I’ve come a long way since then.
Koepka added that much of this frustration was related to health.
A string of injuries – including a torn patella tendon and a dislocated knee – added to a painful fall from the top for the former world No.1. After winning four majors in a historic run between 2017 and 2019, two years later Koepka admits his career may be over.
The LIV golf star’s struggle to match his drop off was laid bare in Netflix’s “Full Swing” docuseries, but in March Koepka told CNN he was beyond that. “Funk” and focused on a fifth major title.
The aim was to build momentum through the Masters, and Koepka kept his word, setting a fast early pace in his eighth appearance at Augusta.
After opening with a seven-under 65 with Jon Rahm and Victor Hovland tied for the lead, Koepka took advantage of the first tee time on Friday to pull ahead with a second-round 67.
Rahm closed the gap to three shots before the horn blew halfway through his round, while Norway’s Hovland left eight holes six shots off the leader.
An eagle on the eighth helped Koepka tie the third-lowest score through two rounds in Masters history, just two shots shy of Jordan Spieth’s 2015 record of 130, according to the PGA Tour.
A two-time winner at the US Open and PGA Championship, respectively, the first green jacket will move the 32-year-old Floridian closer to the “absolute goal”: a career Grand Slam.
“I think all the greats have won here and they’ve won the British Open,” Koepka said.
“I guess that’s another box for me to really feel like I accomplished what I was supposed to accomplish in this game.”
Only six players have ever won all four majors, unchanged for at least a year after Rory McIlroy endured another miserable afternoon at Augusta National.
The Northern Irishman arrived in Georgia in the green jacket, one step away from completing the career slam but an even-par 72 left him tied for 37th after the first round with an uphill climb.
Things went from bad to worse on Friday as seven bogeys dropped McIlroy to a five-over 77. When play was suspended, McIlroy was tied for 61st, three shots off the projected cut line and all but guaranteed to miss the weekend for third. Time in his presentation of 15 masters.
Tiger Woods’ hopes of making a place in the third round are intact. The five-time Masters champion sits on the projected cut line at two over par with seven holes of his second round remaining to play.
Amateur Sam Bennett once again starred, shooting his second straight four-under 68 to end the day four strokes behind Koepka. The 23-year-old Texan stole the show at Augusta National, sporting a tattoo that represents the final piece of advice given to him by his father, who died in 2021 after a battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Resume play on Saturday at 8:00 a.m. ET but with more rain likely, further delays are possible.