With two days in the books at LIV Golf Orlando, Brooks Koepka leads the individual race and his team, Smash GC, is also out in front. But there's plenty of big names lurking just behind with 18 holes to play at Orange County National.
Here are all the news, notes and stats you need to know from the second round in Orlando.
LESS MENTAL MISTAKES FOR KOEPKA: 36-hole leader Brooks Koepka finished outside the points in his first two LIV Golf starts of 2023 (31st in Mayakoba, 29th in Tucson). Now he’s on the verge of his second LIV win this week in Orlando. The difference? “Just got rid of the mental mistakes,” he said. “I look back, Mexico, I felt like I was playing pretty well, just made dumb mistakes. Then go to Tucson and I played the tough holes really well and played the easy holes probably the worst in the field.” As for this week? “Just making sure I miss on the correct side, giving myself chances, don’t take too much on,” he said. “And it’s worked.”
REED LURKING 4 SHOTS BEHIND: 4Aces GC star Patrick Reed enters Sunday within striking distance of the lead after posting consecutive 4-under 67s. Reed is looking for his first LIV Golf individual win. “Game is trending, just need to eliminate a little bit of mental mistakes,” he said. “I’ve had too many of those so far this week.” Two weeks ago in Tucson, Reed moved up the leaderboard with a 5-under 66 to finish T18. “I like Sundays,” Reed said.
CANTER’S HEALTH AND NEW DRIVER: Cleeks GC’s Laurie Canter attributes two things to his improved play this week – a healthy back and a new driver. He said back issues hampered his performance to start 2023, but that he finally started feeling better in Tucson. He’s also put a new driver in play this week to battle the windy conditions. Through two rounds, Canter has hit nearly 65% of his fairways, ranking him in the top half of the field in driver accuracy. “My previous driver was good, straight, but a little bit spinny,” he said, “whereas this driver is a bit flatter and we’ve had two windy days and it’s got me in the fairway a little bit more.”
WILL SMASH SET TEAM RECORD: Brooks Koepka and his Smash GC team have recorded the low team counting scores in each of the first two days, shooting a cumulative 12 under on Saturday to go with Friday’s opening 14 under. That leaves Smash at 26 under through the two rounds. They’ll need to go even lower on Sunday to break the team scoring mark set last season in Bangkok by Fireballs GC, who won at 45 under.
FIRST-ROUND LEADERS BREAK EVEN: Sebastián Muñoz (Torque GC) and Richard Bland (Cleeks GC), the top two players on the leaderboard entering the second round, both shot even-par 71. The two were the only players in the top 13 through two rounds who failed to break par on Saturday. Neither of their scores counted for their respective teams. The field stroke average in the second round was 69.625, approximately a half-stroke higher than the opening round.
TORQUE TEAM HOUSE: Three members of Torque GC are staying in the same house this week – captain Joaquin Niemann, Muñoz and David Puig. The other member, Mito Pereira, is spending this week with his family. “The vibe is great,” Muñoz said. “… Everyone has kind of his role. Everyone knows how to be part of the community and not really be the center of it.” Muñoz said his role is as the group’s listener. “Some people like to vent out, and I’ll listen and try to help out a little bit.”
HV3’S COUNTING STREAK ENDS (ON A TECHNICALITY): RangeGoats GC’s Harold Varner III entered Saturday having provided a counting score for his team in each regular-season round since joining LIV Golf last season. The 19 consecutive counting scores – the longest active streak in LIV Golf – came to an end on Saturday as Varner shot a 1-over 72. At least technically, it came to end. Varner’s score was matched by captain Bubba Watson’s 72, but Watson’s score counted.
Driving distance – Dean Burmester, 337.9-yard average
Longest drive – Dean Burmester, 387 yards (10th hole)
Driving accuracy – Brendan Steele, 100% (14 of 14)
Greens in regulation – Joaquin Niemann, 94.44% (17 of 18)
Scrambling – Cameron Tringale (6 of 6), Carlos Ortiz (5 of 5), Mito Pereira (4 of 4), Brooks Koepka (3 of 3), Laurie Canter (2 of 2), Scott Vincent (2 of 2), Joaquin Niemann (1 of 1), 100%
Fewest putts – Sam Horsfield, Kevin Na, 24 putts
Most birdies – Sam Horsfield, James Piot, 8
Bogey-free rounds – Brooks Koepka (65), Laurie Canter (66), Cameron Tringale (66), Scott Vincent (67), Carlos Ortiz (69)