Brooks Koepka: Fall Masters could see winning score near even par

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Brooks Koepka is eager to see what a fall Masters might look like, even though he expects conditions to be tougher than usual near the end of the year at Augusta National Golf Club.

They typical azalea bloom of April will be replaced this year by fall foliage, with what is usually the season’s first major now taking the final slot, Nov. 12-15. It will include a learning curve for all involved, even for a player like Koepka, who finished second a year ago behind Tiger Woods.

“I don’t think any of us know what to expect,” Koepka said Tuesday on the Dan Patrick Show.

Koepka raised a litany of questions, ranging from whether the course will be overseeded to the potential length of any rough. But after posting a total of 12 under a year ago, he expects much tougher scoring this fall.

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Among the factors raising the difficulty could be the wind. According to Koepka, players can expect the prevailing winds to come from a different direction in the fall, which could make Nos. 13 and 15 more difficult to reach in two.

“It’s going to be so cold. Balls aren’t going to be flying as far,” Koepka said. “Every par-5 basically plays into the wind from what I’ve been told. It’s going to change the golf course. I think you’ll see scores around even par instead of that 12, 15 under that you’ve been accustomed to. And I think it could really affect the back nine.”

Since 1990, the winning score at Augusta National has dipped below 5 under par just once. That was back in 2007, when cold temperatures and windy conditions led to high scores and Zach Johnson slipped into a green jacket after shooting 1-over 289. The last time even won the Masters was 1966, when Jack Nicklaus became the first player to successfully defend.