A month after Brooks Koepka grabbed a second set of irons in frustration with his poor form, he is on pole position and takes a second win at three WGC Workday Championship events.
Koepka’s second round of 66 was marred only by a bogey on the 18th, but left the four-time main winner at 11 under par, one shot ahead of US PGA Champion Collin Morikawa, Billy Horschel and Australian Cameron Smith.
Overnight joint front runners Matt Fitzpatrick and Webb Simpson were one shot down on nine alongside Tony Finau, while defending champions Patrick Reed and Kevin Kisner left another shot behind.
Koepka was the dominant force in golf when he won the 2017 and 2018 US Open and the 2018 and 2019 US PGA, but went 18 months without a win prior to winning the Waste Management Phoenix Open earlier this month.
He grabbed a set of irons above his knee after missing the cut at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in December and another after early retirement from the Farmers Insurance Open in late January.
Koepka, who sidelined the first two months of the 2020/21 season with knee and hip injuries, told Sky Sports: “Anything that came out of frustration when he didn’t see the results is all it is.
“You can play well and the results are just not there. I felt like I’ve worked so hard over the past few years … basically from the play-offs (FedEx Cup).
“Since TPC Boston (in August) I haven’t been home for more than 25 days. I was just in training in San Diego and was trying to do everything right. Now I am seeing these results. “
Finishing second in the Masters in November, Smith won the Sony Open in Hawaii in January 2020, but admitted he couldn’t build on his first individual PGA Tour title.
“Probably just a bit satisfied, thought everything was fine,” said Smith. “It was still decent, but it was definitely not my best stuff.
“In the past few weeks I’ve probably had more practice in the past two weeks than in the last year. Just to show what a little hard work can do. “
Fitzpatrick covered his first six holes of his second round in an over par to lose four strokes out of pace, but played the remaining 12 in three under to contend for the first WGC title.
Rory McIlroy will start round three with a six-stroke lead after a rollercoaster ride with seven birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey, while US Open Champion Bryson DeChambeau is outnumbered by an excellent 64 three after a rebound from an opening 77.