While other LIV Golf teams developed a family-type closeness during the season, Smash GC truly was a family once four-time major winner Brooks Koepka became captain and younger brother Chase transferred to the roster. The addition of Peter Uihlein – a former roommate of Brooks when both were still fledgling pros – only enhanced the bonds.
It took awhile but the Smash family eventually found its form. A second-place finish in Chicago was the first sign. Then in the regular season finale in Jeddah, Smash flexed all its collective muscle, with the Koepkas, Uihlein and Jason Kokrak winning the team title, while Brooks outdueled Uihlein in a playoff for the individual trophy. Smash then made a spirited run during the Team Championship in Miami, winning its quarterfinals and semifinal matches before running out of steam on the final day.
Overall, the season was slow in developing but eventually became a productive one for Smash. With the Koepka brothers leading the way, the future should be even brighter.
Sihwan Kim, the original Smash captain, drafted Jinichiro Kozuma, Scott Vincent and Itthipat Buranatanyarat for the inaugural LIV Golf tournament in London. The entire roster changed for Portland, with Brooks Koepka taking over as captain and Chase Koepka, Richard Bland and Adrian Otaegui transferring from other teams. Jason Kokrak replaced Otaegui starting in Bedminster, and Peter Uihlein replaced Bland starting in Boston. From there, the lineup remained intact the rest of the season.
|Player||Smash GC starts|
TEAM: The first two rounds in Jeddah set up Smash GC for its domination that week. In the first round, Brooks Koepka shot 62, tying for lowest score by any player during the season. With Uihlein (65) and Chase Koepka (68) contributing counting scores, Smash shot a collective 195 to take a five-shot lead. They duplicated that score the next day, led by Uihlein's 63, with Kokrak contributing a 65 and the Koepka brothers each shooting 67 (Chase's score counted). The final round ultimately turned into which Smash player would win the individual title, with Brooks beating Uihlein in a playoff.
INDIVIDUAL: Brooks Koepka was still searching for his form when he joined LIV Golf prior to Portland, and eventually he found it in Jeddah, becoming the last individual winner of the inaugural season. Koepka shot 62-67-69 to finish at 12 under and force a playoff with teammate Peter Uihlein. Koepka ultimately birdied the par-5 18th four consecutive times (once in regulation, three in the playoff) to make an emotional return to the winner's circle.
PETER UIHLEIN. Although Brooks Koepka won the individual title in Jeddah, his former roommate Uihlein had the more consistent season, reflected in his third-place finish in the Individual Champion race (an accomplishment that came with a $4 million bonus). In his four regular season starts for Smash, Uihlein produced two runner-up finishes, both vital to getting his team on the podium. In Miami, Uihlein won both of his singles matches without reaching the final two holes.
Others considered: Captain Brooks Koepka's win in Jeddah was his team's individual highlight, and he knocked off match-play specialist Ian Poulter in the semifinals in Miami.
LONDON (+10), 9th place
Rd. 1: Vincent 67, Kozuma 73
Rd. 2: Kim 69, Kozuma 70
Rd. 3: Kozuma 70, Buranatanyarat 75, Vincent 76
PORTLAND (-3), 6th place
Rd. 1: B. Koepka 70, C. Koepka 73
Rd. 2: B. Koepka 70, Otaegui 72
Rd. 3: Otaegui 71, C. Koepka 72, Bland 73
BEDMINSTER (-2), 8th place
Rd. 1: B. Koepka 68, C. Koepka 69
Rd. 2: C. Koepka 73, Kokrak 75
Rd. 3: B. Koepka 66, C. Koepka 71, Bland 73
BOSTON (-20), 9th place
Rd. 1: Kokrak 67, B. Koepka 70
Rd. 2: Kokrak 65, B. Koepka 67
Rd. 3: Kokrak 66, C. Koepka 66, Uihlein 69
CHICAGO (-23), 2nd place
Rd. 1: B. Koepka 70, Uihlein 71
Rd. 2: Uihlein 66, Kokrak 68
Rd. 3: C. Koepka 67, Uihlein 69, B. Koepka 70
Prize earnings: $1,500,000
BANGKOK (-32), 8th place
Rd. 1: B. Koepka 67, Kokrak 69, Uihlein 70
Rd. 2: B. Koepka 67, Uihlein 68, C. Koepka 69
Rd. 3: C. Koepka 67, B. Koepka 69, Kokrak 70
JEDDAH (-33), 1st place
Rd. 1: B. Koepka 62, Uihlein 65, C. Koepka 68
Rd. 2: Uihlein 64, Kokrak 65, C. Koepka 67
Rd. 3: C. Koepka 68, B. Koepka 69, Uihlein 70
Prize earnings: $3,000,000
QUARTERFINALS: Beat Niblicks GC, 2-1
B. Koepka lost to Varner, 4 & 3
Uihlein def. Piot, 5 & 3
Kokrak/C. Koepka def. Pettit/Swafford, 2 & 1
SEMIFINALS: Beat Majesticks GC, 3-0
B. Koepka def. Poulter, 3 & 1
Uihlein def. Westwood, 4 & 2
Kokrak/C. Koepka def. Stenson/Horsfield, 1 up
FINALS: 3rd place (+4)
B. Koepka +2
C. Koepka +3
Prize earnings: $6,000,000
6 – Top 10 individual point finishes by Smash players (Kokrak 7th in Boston; Uihlein 2nd, C. Koepka 9th in Boston; B. Koepka 9th in Bangkok; B. Koepka 1st, Uihlein 2nd in Jeddah)
49 – Holes led or tied by Smash in the 51 holes played while sweeping the Majesticks in the semifinals of the Team Championship
67.0 – Chase Koepka's scoring average in the final round of the last four regular season tournaments
68.9 – Peter Uihlein's scoring average for his 12 regular season rounds with Smash GC
69.3 – Brooks Koepka's scoring average for his 18 regular season rounds
69.5 – Jason Kokrak's scoring average for his 15 regular season rounds
70.1 – Chase Koepka's scoring average for his 18 regular season rounds with Smash GC
70.5 – Scoring average for all Smash GC players during the seven regular season events (course average was 71.0)
303.6 – Average driving distance in yards for all Smash players
317.3 – Brooks Koepka's driving distance average in yards for the season
326.3 – Uihlein's driving distance average in yards when he led the field in Chicago
PETER UIHLEIN ON HIS LIV GOLF SEASON