Masters 2023: Brooks Koepka's fist of fury, an amateur's magical week continues and everything else you missed from Friday
AUGUSTA, Ga. — The second round at the 2023 Masters will need a second day to be completed as play was officially suspended after a pair of weather delays—not to mention a pair of towering pines toppling over. But there's still plenty to talk about as we prepare for a long slog on Saturday. Here are the most important things you missed.
Brooks Koepka is BACK
How do we know this? Because the four-time major champ said so. Following a Friday 67 that has him (seemingly) in control of the tournament, Koepka was asked about returning to top form.
"Probably, I'd say January I knew I was back," Koepka said.
OK then. After winning the LIV Orlando event last week and opening here in strong fashion, gone is that frustrated dude we saw on "Full Swing." A guy so down that he tried, unsuccessfully, to punch through the back window of his Masters Mercedes courtesy after missing the cut last year. True story! And now, that empty space in the middle of his trophy case might finally be filled as he takes the lead into the weekend.
But Jon Rahm is still right there
The Spaniard is one of the golfers who didn't finish his second round, but he completed the front nine in 34 strokes to move to nine under for the tournament. At three back, Rahm and Koepka are actually live co-favorites on DraftKings. It's a nod to Rahm's (better) recent form, but we'll sure Koepka will take it as the latest sign of disrespect. And that doesn't bode well for the rest of the field.
An amateur is contending
What a magical week it's been so far for Sam Bennett. First, the reigning U.S. Amateur champ got moved to Butler Cabin when the Crow's Nest was overbooked (Talk about an upgrade, huh?), and then he went out and shot a pair of 68s to get himself right in the mix at the Masters.
"Yeah, everybody coming into the week was, yeah, hope you get Low Am," Bennett said. "That's pretty much all they were saying. I just wanted to put two good rounds up. I knew my golf was good enough to compete out here. I found myself in a situation that now I've got a golf tournament that I can go out and win."
As the only amateur to make the cut, Bennett could shoot a pair of 98s over the weekend and still be low am. Very impressive stuff from the Texas A&M senior who is in great shape to be the first amateur to finish in the top 10 since 1962. Somewhere, Bobby Jones is smiling.
Rory's disappointing week
On the flip side, what a disastrous performance by Rory McIlroy. Considered by many to be the favorite coming in, McIlroy shot over par both days and will miss the cut. The Northern Irishman didn't stop to talk with media on his way out and he'll have to wait another 12 months to try to complete that career Grand Slam. Again.
End of an Era
A passing of the torch officially—and quietly—happened Friday morning as the Jeff Knox Era as Masters marker came to an end. After spending a couple decades filling in when an uneven number of players make the cut—and routinely dusting some of the world's best players including McIlroy—the 60-year-old was finally replaced.
Knox was on the first tee to wish fellow Augusta National member Michael McDermott the best as he tries to fill a legend's shoes. And the 48-year-old Philly-area CFP turned heads as well with a 310-yard drive over the hill to start. Golf Twitter might want to get familiar with this guy.
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