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ORLANDO, FL — Brooks Koepka became LIV Golf’s first multiple winner when he closed with a three-under 68, paring a 4-foot putt on the final hole for a one-shot win over Sebastian Munoz.
LIV Golf-Orlando came one week before Koepka and 17 other Saudi-funded league players moved to Augusta National for the Masters.
“Going into next week, that’s what you want to see,” said Kupka, who finished at 15-under-198 at the Orange County National.
Munoz was trying to stay with Kupka all the way up the back nine and he didn’t get away so easily. He fell two shots behind when he sent a bunker shot flying over the green on the Par-5 14. While he was doing well scrambling for par, Koepka made a short birdie.
Munoz bounced back by puncturing a chip for birdie on the 16th to cut the deficit to one. But on the par-5, Orange County’s easiest hole, the Colombian golfer again hit a holeshot just over the green. He made another par, and Koepka gave him hope by missing a 5-foot birdie.
The last hole threw some thoughts on the team component of LIV Golf.
Koepka and Munoz were about 40 feet away from the birds. Koepka went first and let the putt out 4 feet out. Munoz needed to make a birdie to force a playoff. However, Team Torque had a one-shot lead over Team Smash, led by Koepka.
If he were to hit the ball with big power and a bogey three-hit, Munoz could have cost Torque the team title. He let it go just under 4 feet, and made Torque par to win the team competition for the first time.
“It was weird because I knew we were one stroke ahead of the team, so I couldn’t get ahead. I knew I couldn’t be too aggressive,” Munoz said.
“He’s got the individual, we’ve got the team. I call that a tie.”
Patrick Reed (68) and Dean Burmester (64) are tied for third.
It may not feel like a tie to a Koepka Bank account. He won $4 million. Koepka’s previous title was at LIV in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, last year.
He’s been struggling with various injuries for nearly two years and said he feels as if he’s healthy for the first time in years going into Augusta.
“Look at everything I’ve been through,” he said, “I’m finally healthy.” “It’s nice to play some good golf. I shudder to think what I’m capable of.”
Koepka said the Orange County National, previously used for the PGA Tour qualifiers, was a good test for the Masters because the greens were fast and grueling.
“If I would have hit a few stronger kicks, it would have been easier,” he said of the tight end with Munoz. “I am happy to win.”
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