Chase Koepka seems intent on proving to older brother Brooks that anything you can do I can do too. Like winning on the European Tour.
Chase may just do that in his very first outing of the year.
The younger Koepka shares the lead with Branden Grace after the opening round of the BMW SA Open. Both men fired matching 7-under 65s at Glendower Golf Club in the City of Ekurhuleni in Gauteng, South Africa. They are one shot ahead of England’s Chris Paisley.
Koepka, who is in his rookie European Tour season, began with a bogey, but rebounded with an eagle, seven birdies and just one more dropped shot to get to the top of the leaderboard.
“It was great,” said Koepka, who is making just his seventh European Tour start. “I think I played flawless, except for the second shot on the first hole. I hit a poor shot there and saved it with a 12-footer for a bogey. I made eagle on the second hole and kind of kept it going from there.
“Inside 150 yards, I was really good today. I didn’t have too many shots from inside 150, but every one that I had, I was hitting them close. The putter was really hot on the front nine and then I had a bunch of short putts on the back nine which helped a little bit.”
Koepka has followed in Brooks’ footsteps by using Europe to hone the skills he hopes will one day earn him a PGA Tour card. He’s played the European Challenge Tour since finishing college golf at the University of South Florida. He earned his full European Tour card by finishing ninth on the Challenge Tour money list last year to be one of 15 players to graduate to the main tour. He racked up five top-10 finishes on Europe’s junior circuit, including two seconds, a third and two fifth-place finishes.
Reigning U.S. Open champion Brooks won four times on the Challenge Tour, and only needed 27 starts to win his first European Tour event, the 2014 Turkish Airlines Open.
Chase will be hoping to beat that record by 20 tournaments.