Sunday, May 19, 2024

2024 LIV Golf Singapore: Brooks Koepka holds three-stroke lead in final start before PGA Championship defense

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The PGA Championship is right around the corner which can only mean one thing — Brooks Koepka is lurking. The five-time major champion and three-time PGA Championship winner leads by three shots over four players heading into the final round of LIV Golf Singapore. The event will mark the final time Koepka tees it up in the competitive setting before defending his title in two week’s time at Valhalla Golf Club.

“I played really good,” Koepka said. “Ball-striking is finally starting to come around. The putter is heating up a little bit. I think that’s just due to seeing some better golf shots. Just kind of finding my own little swagger. Pleased with the way I’ve played so far and just need to go another good round.”

Koepka entered the second round in Singapore one stroke off the lead of Sebastian Munoz after opening with a 5-under 66. He immediately got to work rolling in birdies from holes Nos. 4-6. A heavy dose of pars defined the middle portion of his round before Koepka caught fire to end.

Four birdies in Koepka’s final six holes put the finishing touches on a second-round 64 and put him at 12 under and three clear of a chasing pack that includes Thomas Pieters, Adrian Meronk, Abraham Ancer and Matthew Wolff. A win on Sunday would mark Koepka’s first of the year and his fourth on LIV Golf.

“There’s a lot of people that put time and effort into making sure that I play good,” Koepka said. “I think Augusta was a good wake-up call. I’ve had to really grind since then. It’ll be nice to see — hopefully. My son hasn’t seen me finish better than about 45th. I was reminded of that on the way over here, to Adelaide. Hopefully get a little better result.”

As is always the case with Koepka, one eye is on the championship in Louisville, Kentucky in a couple weeks. The PGA Championship has been the major championship for the major championship savant throughout his career. Boasting three victories — including last year at Oak Hill — and three other top fives in 11 appearances, Koepka has made it clear that the second major championship of the season goes through him.

This was not true at the first major championship last month as Koepka struggled to a T45 finish at the Masters. Switching between putters during tournament preparation and without his best form across the 72 holes of competition, he left Augusta National disappointed. This disappointment has since grown into a chip on Koepka’s shoulder — a chip which should scare the hell out of everyone else.

“I guess I’ve gone back-to-back at the PGA and the U.S. Open. Hopefully looking to do it again,” Koepka said. “I don’t know if it’s ever been done, but it would be kind of a cool thing. I’ve tried to three-peat. Not very good at it, out here and at the majors. I think the embarrassment of Augusta really kicked things into overdrive for me and really having to put my nose down and grind it a little bit harder and having to look my team in the eye and apologize. I’m not looking to do that again.”

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