Brooks Koepka shows signs of form in Orlando as Munoz goes crazy low

Brooks Koepka returned to form in the opening round of LIV Golf Orlando with a 65, three back of the early lead at Orange County National.

Ben Smith's picture
Fri, 31 Mar 2023
Brooks Koepka shows signs of form in Orlando as Munoz goes crazy low

Brooks Koepka appeared closer to his best after shooting an opening round of 6-under 65 at LIV Golf Orlando. 

The 32-year-old only carded one bogey at Orange County National to trail early leader Sebastian Munoz by three strokes. 

Munoz carded eight birdies and one eagle on his way to a glistening opening round of 62, his only blemish coming at No. 7. 

As for Koepka, he will view this as a welcome return to form on the eve of the 2023 Masters

A number of LIV Golf players have spent large parts of this week discussing the forthcoming major. 

Joaquin Niemann, skipper of Torque GC, claimed the fact LIV players are 'hated' will only embolden them 

And Cameron Smith, who opened with a 2-under 69 here, suggested it was 'BS' LIV players won't be competitive at Augusta National. 

Koepka, a four-time major champion, will no doubt want to prove his critics wrong after missing the cut at last year's Masters.

It was the start of an injury-ridden 12 months in which Koepka questioned if he was ever going to play the game again. 

In an interview with the i earlier in the week, he explained how post-knee surgery he was supposed to be side-lined for more than a year.

Instead he tried to carry on playing. He told the publication:

"My competitiveness probably got the best of me, wanting to play and prove everybody wrong, prove to myself that I was okay. I can’t help myself. The surgery I had had never been done before. They pretty much told me recovery would be a year and a half. Three weeks later we were playing Augusta. I was just trying to figure out what routes to walk there. I couldn’t get down to read putts without kicking my right leg out."

Elsewhere in the tournament, England's Richard Bland (64) trails Munoz by two strokes. 

Danny Lee, who won in Tucson, sits in outright fourth at 6-under. 

Harold Varner III and Lee Westwood both posted rounds of 66. Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed are also inside the top-10. 

In the team element, Koepka's Smash lead by one stroke over Niemann's Torque at 14-under. 

The all-English Majesticks are at 11-under in third place, with the 4 Aces in fourth. 

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