Koepka 'struggling' with ball-striking, still only 6 back


ORLANDO, Fla. – Through two rounds, Brooks Koepka has hit more greens (30 of 36) than any player in the field at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He is ranked seventh in strokes gained-tee to green, and at 7-under 137 he trails by only six shots heading into the weekend.

Surprising, because he said late Friday afternoon that he is “really struggling hitting the ball.” 

His frustration might stem from the fact that he tweaked his back warming up on the range for his second round at Bay Hill. But he says he’s struggling to hit his lines with his full clubs, and to hit the ball close to the hole.

Keep in mind this is a player who made seven birdies during a Friday 66. 

This season Koepka has found just 54 percent of the fairways, but this week that hasn’t been as much of an issue on a softened course. Through two days he has hit 75 percent (21 of 28) of the fairways.

“I’m used to not hitting fairways,” he said, “so hitting it in the rough is not a big deal for me. As long as the ball goes far” – and it does, averaging 305 per pop – “and stays in between the out-of-bounds posts, it doesn’t really matter.”

Koepka will take off next week before one final Masters final tune-up in Houston. 

The Phoenix Open winner had planned to head up to play Augusta for the first time with Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler and Ben Crane after the Honda, but Mickelson backed out because of fatigue. Now, Koepka said he won’t play any practice rounds there because he wants to “treat it like any other event.” 

“You gotta experience it for yourself before you can really take anything in from anybody else,” he said.