Koepka brothers are flying high in LIV tourney


Brooks Koepka (top photos) is leading the LIV Tour Orlando event and is also captain of the team leader, Smash. His younger brother Chase is also on the Smash team.

ORLANDO, FL. — The Koepka brothers could be in for a big payday on Sunday. Brook owns a three-stroke lead entering the final round of LIV Golf Orlando and their team, Smash, is two ahead in the team competition.

The individual champion gets $20 million and the winning team splits $5 million.

And that’s not all.

Brooks is one of 18 members of the Saudi-backed LIV circuit that will play in nex`t week’s Masters.  He’s won four major tournaments, but not that one, and his game seems more than ready based on the first two rounds at Orange County National’s Crooked Cat Course.

“Getting a `W’ is on my mind,’’ said Koepka.  “If I play well that’s possible, and I like the way I’m playing looking ahead to next week.’’

The Masters is vitally important to the LIV players, who are playing only their third tournament of their first official season. In the circuit’s debut season there were only eight tournaments.  This year there are 14.

LIV players haven’t been allowed to play in PGA Tour events since bolting that circuit, but the Masters is allowing LIV members who met its qualifying standards to tee it up at Augusta National.  It’ll be the first time players from the rival tours are in the same tournament.

Koepka went 65-65 in the first two rounds here.  He trailed first-round leader Sebastian Munoz by two shots after the first 18.  Munoz, who shot a LIV record-tying 62 in Round 1, slipped to a 71 on Saturday but is still Koepka’s closest challenger entering the final round.

Koepka is 12-under-par 130 for the first 36 holes.

Smash used Brooks Koepka, Matt Wolff and Jason Kokrak as its scoring unit on Saturday.  Only three scores on the four-man teams count each round in team scoring.  Chase Koepka, Brooks’ younger brother, didn’t count in the team scoring on Saturday but his 65 was key to Smash getting a fast start in the opening round.