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Brooks Koepka sends Masters warning with LIV title at Orlando

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Orlando – Brooks Koepka will ride into the Masters this week on the momentum of a victory.

Koepka fired a 3-under 68 to stave off Sebastian Munoz of Colombia and win LIV Golf Orlando by one stroke on Sunday in Winter Garden, Fla.

Koepka finished the three-day event at 15-under 198. The four-time major winner became the first player to win two LIV events after taking the LIV Golf Invitational Jeddah last October in Saudi Arabia.

“I’ve been playing good for a few weeks,” Koepka said. “It just hasn’t really shown on the scorecard, making dumb mistakes. It was nice to come out this week and play mistake-free pretty much.”

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Behind Munoz, Patrick Reed and South Africa’s Dean Burmester tied for third at 12-under 201.

A silver lining for Munoz was that his team, Torque, beat Koepka’s Smash by a single stroke, 36 under to 35 under, to claim the team title. Dustin Johnson’s 4Aces came in third at 34 under.

“I just knew that I had Brooks against me, and I couldn’t let him beat me (in counting scores) because I wanted Torque to stay on top,” Munoz said.

Koepka began the day with a three-shot lead and made three birdies on the front nine at Orange County National. But Munoz, playing with him in the final group, narrowed the gap by birdieing five of his first 10 holes.

Koepka birdied the par-5 14th to make it a two-shot margin again, and both players took a bogey at the par-3 15th. Munoz then proceeded to chip in for birdie at No. 16 to get back within one.

At No. 18, Munoz missed a long putt for birdie that would have forced a playoff.

“I knew it was back-and forth between Torque and us, and then Sebastian, I knew where he was the entire time. It helps playing with him, obviously,” Koepka said. “He battled really hard. … The fact he just wouldn’t go away was props to him because that’s just competing right there.”

Burmester eagled his starting hole, No. 17, en route to a 7-under 64. Reed had a bogey-free 67.

Matthew Wolff (67 on Sunday) and Chile’s Mito Pereira (68) tied for fifth at 11 under. Pereira’s score joined Munoz’s and Spaniard David Puig’s 67 to help push Torque to victory.

The Saudi-funded league will see 18 of its members compete in the Masters alongside mostly PGA Tour members.

“I’m very happy to get the win,” Koepka said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get the team win, which kind of is a little bittersweet. But look, I’m happy the way I’m playing going into Augusta.”

Field Level Media via Reuters

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