<
>

Brooks Koepka makes albatross, ties TPC record with 9-under 63

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Brooks Koepka's nagging wrist injury didn't stop him from becoming just the second golfer to record an albatross on No. 16 in the 37 years that The Players Championship has been held at TPC Sawgrass.

Koepka hit a 6-iron from 208 yards, and the ball bounced once before landing in the cup for a 2 on the 523-yard par 5 en route to a course-record-tying 63 in Sunday's final round.

"We thought it was perfect," Koepka said. "I was aiming 15 feet left and just kind of hit it and it started out just a little bit left and kind of faded with the wind right on line, and to have it one-hop in is pretty cool."

Koepka is just the fourth golfer to record an albatross on a par 5 during The Players at TPC Sawgrass. Peter Lonard did it in 2007 on No. 2, Hunter Mahan did it in 2007 on No. 11 and Rafa Cabrera Bello did it last year on No. 16.

Koepka has been battling a wrist injury since last December. Doctors eventually diagnosed a partially torn tendon, and the injury limited him to just three events in 2018 before The Players. He didn't play at all in February or March and returned to the PGA Tour two weeks ago at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans, where he missed the cut after shooting a 78 in the second round.

Koepka reinjured his wrist Wednesday when he managed to stop his swing because someone drove a golf cart in front of him during a practice session on the range. He had trouble warming up before Thursday's first round but was determined to play. He said it felt pretty good on Sunday.

"Feels better after a 63," Koepka said. "It was nice to play well. I've been knocking on the door. ... Sometimes when you're off for four months you come back [and] you need to play a little bit, get some rhythm, and it's nice to finally shoot a low one."

The albatross put Koepka at 8-under for the round, and his birdie on the par-3 17th meant he had a shot at breaking the course record for a low round. However, he missed a 13-foot birdie putt on No. 18 that he was sure was going in.

"I hit that putt in practice and it always -- you're always trying to die it in and it always seems to break a little bit more than you think," said Koepka, who finished the tournament 11-under par. "I'm not going to lie: I knew it was for the course record, but sometimes you hit a good putt and it doesn't go in."

Koepka is just the ninth golfer to shoot 63 at TPC Sawgrass. Webb Simpson, who began Sunday atop the leaderboard at 19 under par, shot 63 during Friday's second round. Koepka is the only one to shoot 63 on the weekend.