KAPALUA, Hawaii – To be fair, it’s extremely difficult to follow up a 63 with another low score.
Brooks Koepka was all smiles Saturday after recording a 10-under 63 and deemed the week a success almost no matter what happened on Sunday. He played his way into the final group alongside Jordan Spieth and, even though he was five-shots back to begin the day, he hoped for a stellar start to put pressure on the top-ranked player in the world.
It never materialized.
In fact, it was a rollercoaster from the beginning.
Koepka didn’t record his first par of the day until the par-3 eighth hole. He made bogey on the first two holes, rattled off three consecutive birdies, bogeyed the sixth, birdied the seventh then finally made par. At that point he was still six shots behind Spieth, but Patrick Reed and Brandt Snedeker had already made big moves.
The final tally was a 2-under 71, good for a third-place tie, nine shots off the lead.
“Every time you’re in the final group you learn something,” Koepka said. “It’s incredible the way Jordan manages his game going around all 18 holes. He doesn’t seem to make a mistake. When he does get in trouble, he gets out of it and he makes those 15-foot clutch putts to kind of keep the round going. It’s impressive to watch.
“I just need to keep doing what I’m doing and hopefully it comes together pretty soon.”
His next tournament start is the Phoenix Open, which he won last year.