Sun, 11 Apr 2021

Brooks Koepka takes second-round lead at WGC

Field Level Media
27 Feb 2021, 11:19 GMT+10

Despite closing his round with bogey at 18, Brooks Koepka shot a 6-under 66 on Friday to take the second-round lead at the World Golf Championships -- Workday Championship at The Concession in Bradenton, Fla.

Koepka recorded seven birdies before making bogey on his final hole to stand at 11-under, 133 total, and take a one-shot lead over Australia's Cameron Smith, who also shot 66, Billy Horschel (67) and Collin Morikawa, who tied the course record with 64.

"Yeah, it's one of those things where I feel like if I've had good numbers this week, ball-striking it really well where I feel like I can get it close and can take advantage of those good numbers," said Keopka regarding some favorable yardages during his round. "Just got to play the par 5s a little better."

Koepka made two birdies on four of the par-5s, taking advantage at Nos. 7 and 17. He made two other birdies on the front -- at Nos. 1 and 8 -- and three more on the back, including three in a row on 15 through 17.

This is the eighth career 36-hole lead or co-lead for Koepka, and he's converted two of them into victories at the 2017 U.S. Open and 2019 PGA Championship. The World No. 12 player is out to become this season's first multiple winner after capturing the 2021 Waste Management Phoenix Open on Feb. 7.

He's also chasing just his second WGC title. Koepka won the 2019 FedEx St. Jude Invitational and has six other top-10s in 17 previous WGC appearances.

"It's just a typical south Florida golf course," said Koepka regarding The Concession, which was designed by Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin and is hosting its first PGA Tour event after the WGC was moved from Mexico last month due to challenges related to COVID-19.

"I mean, you play -- all these golf courses that we play, you look at Bear's Club, Medalist, Floridian, to some extent doesn't have quite the same bermuda grass, but those little run-off areas around the green, every Florida course seems to have them, that I play. You can get out of position real quick and kind of short-side yourself and you're not far off a good shot."

For Morikawa, who tied a career high with nine birdies en route to his record-tying 64, he said he feels "confident" playing The Concession layout.

"I've only played a handful of times in Florida," he admitted. "Obviously the grass out here, the way the slopes come off the greens, but I feel confident, I'm getting some good numbers and hopefully we get some good numbers the next two days.

"My putting has never felt this good and whether I make or miss putts, knowing that my stroke is good, line-wise, tempo, that's all that matters."

Rounding out leaderboard's the top five at 9-under are Tony Finau (67), who lost in a playoff last week at the Genesis Invitational, Webb Simpson (69) and Matthew Fitzpatrick (69).

Bryson DeChambeau also fired a 64 on Friday to tie course record and improved by 13 strokes over his first-round 77. He made just one bogey and nine birdies to his career-high mark for birdies in a round in a PGA Tour event.

"That's golf, first off," said DeChambeau. "... To be honest, it's just a tale of golf -- you can have both ends of the stick. I didn't play terrible yesterday, I just didn't get anything going my way, especially on that back nine. Had some bad mistakes and that's what happened. I made some good putts and good strokes today that just luck went my way today.

Defending champion Patrick Reed was 6-under through 13 holes before bogeys on two of his final five holes led to a 4-under 68. He stands tied for eighth at 8-under with Kevin Kisner (69).

Matthew Wolff withdrew prior to start of the second round and will receive last-place unofficial money with no FedExCup points.

--Field Level Media

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