Koepka shoots career-worst 81 as woes continue

  • Senior golf writer for ESPN.com
  • Covered golf for more than 20 years
  • Earned Evans Scholarship to attend Indiana University

ORLANDO, Fla. — Brooks Koepka shot the highest score of his PGA Tour career on Saturday, a 9-over-par 81 at the Bay Hill Club that included just a single birdie.

Koepka, who fell from the top spot in the world last month after a period of indifferent play following a knee procedure in September, hit just three fairways and five greens, making a double-bogey and eight bogeys.

“I didn’t play very good,” Koepka said. “It’s tough. You would’ve taken 2 over today.”

Conditions at Bay Hill have been particularly difficult the last two days, with blustery winds and temperatures that dipped considerably on Saturday. But Koepka, who has fallen to No. 3 in the world behind Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm, has not played well since a stem cell procedure on his knee following the Tour Championship in August.

He returned in Las Vegas and missed the cut, then aggravated the knee problem when he slipped on a wet path at the CJ Cup in South Korea. Koepka missed two tournaments after that as well as the Presidents Cup.

In four tournaments this year, Koepka’s best finish was a tie for 17th in Saudi Arabia. He missed the cut last week at the Honda Classic and is tied for 64th in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at 10 over.

Koepka has maintained that the knee is not 100 percent but that it is also not the reason for the poor golf. “I’m a big boy,” he said. “I can handle it.”

Koepka is scheduled to play the Players Championship, Valspar Championship and WGC-Match Play in the coming weeks.

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