Masters-bound Koepka up 3 shots at LIV Orlando

Masters-bound Koepka up 3 shots at LIV Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. — Brooks Koepka became known for showing up big in the majors. He started to hit his stride Saturday with a 6-under 65 for a 3-shot lead in LIV Golf-Orlando on the weekend before Koepka heads for the Masters.

Koepka played bogey-free at Orange County National. Sebastian Munoz of Colombia, who followed his 62 with an even-par 71, was second.

Mito Pereira (66), Laurie Canter (66) and Patrick Reed (67) were 4 shots back.

Koepka will try to become the first multiple winner since the Saudi-funded LIV Golf began last June. He won a year ago in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in a playoff over Peter Uihlein. Before that, Koepka’s last win was in February 2021 in the Phoenix Open as he battled a various assortment of injuries.

“Just got rid of the mental mistakes,” Koepka said.

He considered his previous two LIV Golf tournaments this year in Mexico and Tucson — what he called “dumb mistakes” at Mayakoba and “then go to Tucson and I played the tough holes really well and played the easy ones probably the worst in the field.”

Koepka won four majors in a span of three years — two U.S. Opens and two PGA Championships. The Masters starts next week at Augusta National.

“Every time I try to play the week before a major, it’s always just to make sure my game is in good shape,” he said. “Just kind of go down the checklist of trying to make better decisions than normal. Just trying to play disciplined golf because when I go to a major, I’m so disciplined, and I think sometimes I can get a little bit carefree in regular events, firing at flags, missing on the wrong side. And I don’t do that in majors.”

Dustin Johnson (70) and British Open champion Cameron Smith (68) were 7shots behind. LIV Golf has 18 players who will be at the Masters next week.

In the team competition, Smash has a 2-shot lead over Torque.

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