Golf-Koepka eyes career-first three-peat as LIV Golf heads to Jeddah

  • Golf
  • Thursday, 29 Feb 2024

Feb 4, 2024; Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, MEX; Brooks Koepka of Team Smash during the final round of the LIV Golf Mayakoba tournament at El Chamaleon Golf Course. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports/ File photo

(Reuters) - Former world number one Brooks Koepka said he hopes to be third time lucky as he aims to complete a three-peat of titles for the first time in his career when he takes part in the LIV Golf event that tees off near Jeddah on Friday.

Koepka has won both the PGA Championship and the U.S. Open majors in consecutive years in his career before making the switch to LIV Golf, where he won the Saudi event at the Royal Greens Golf Club in 2022 and 2023.

"Coming here back-to-back champ feels good, I like this golf course," Koepka told reporters on Wednesday.

"I've obviously played well, so (there is) some familiarity, I guess. The golf course hasn't changed over the last six years, so I'll be ready to play this week.

"It's hard to win (one) alone and then to back it up is pretty tough. But to have a chance at a three-peat -- I'm zero for two, so hopefully (I can) change it this week."

Victories in Jeddah did not come easy for Koepka, who won in a playoff on both occasions after sinking high-pressure birdies on the 18th every single time. He is 7-for-7 in birdies made at the 18th in Jeddah.

"I'd prefer to play it (the 18th hole) a little bit less. I did all right in the playoff, I just would like to not go to a playoff again. It would be nice to win one outright," he added.

While Koepka has three wins in total in the LIV Golf League, former Masters champion Sergio Garcia is still seeking his first after losing twice in a playoff but the Spaniard is optimistic having done well in Jeddah in the past.

"I've been fortunate to play fairly well here, pretty much every time I've played. Obviously there's some things about the course that I enjoy and I like," he said.

"I've had probably about four or five really good chances at winning at LIV in the last couple of years -- unfortunately a couple of seconds, a couple of playoff losses and some top threes.

"I've just got to keep giving myself chances. I think if my game is on, I always have a chance here because I've done well in the past."

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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