Brooks Koepka misses weekend while brother Chase makes cut at Shriners

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Brooks Koepka misses weekend while brother Chase makes cut at Shriners

PGA Tour

Brooks Koepka misses weekend while brother Chase makes cut at Shriners

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LAS VEGAS – Figure this one out.

Brooks Koepka rolled into Las Vegas as the world No. 1, the owner of four major championships, the clear-cut tournament betting favorite in the casinos. His younger brother, Chase, had never made a cut on the PGA Tour and is ranked 1,822 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Well, Brooks Koepka’s name never lit up the leaderboard this week at TPC Summerlin and he won’t be playing on the weekend. Chase’s name, however, did hit the leaderboard and he’ll be playing the next two rounds of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

That’s just golf. It’s funny sometimes.

“He was expected to do what I did,” and miss the cut, Brooks said.

The world No. 1 shot rounds of 70-71 to finish at 1 under and four shots from the cutline while Chase has posted 66-69 to stand in a tie for 35th, five shots out of the lead set by Kevin Na, Lucas Glover, Brian Stuard and Patrick Cantlay.

SHRINERS: Updates | Leaderboard | Photos

Chase got as low as 10 under through his first 12 holes Friday before he fell back with a bogey and a double.

“It’s obviously a great opportunity for him. It’s a big week. You never know what could happen. You come out here and you win and all of a sudden he’s got a membership, which would be pretty cool,” Brooks said. “If he’s going to win, I’ll be the first person to congratulate him on 18. I think it would be probably one of the coolest things. There’s not many chances you get where your brother can actually be a professional golfer, let alone play in the same tournament, and then if he does win, shoot, that would be a highlight of my year.”

Brooks, 29, was coming off a five-week break that included a stem cell procedure to address a partially torn patella tendon, relieve discomfort and strengthen his left knee. While he had few highlights in his 36 holes, he was far from distraught.

His nemesis was a putter that remained frozen despite the desert heat. It was basically just one of those weeks that even the best players endure.

“Not really disappointing,” he said. “I’ve worked on my wedges, trying to control yardages a lot, and they were spot on all week. And I was just a hair off. Putting, just kind of reverted back to some old things, but that’s going to happen.

“I’m not disappointed. I feel like I was very close. This golf course, you can shoot even par very quickly and you can shoot 7 under. It’s just a matter of inches.”

Chase Koepka, 25, is playing in just his fourth PGA Tour start, with two of those coming in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans where he played with his brother in the team format.

So far he’s making the most of his sponsor exemption. He recently returned from Europe where he competed on both the Challenge Tour (he made just three cuts in 12 starts) and in the first stage of Q-School for the European Tour, which he didn’t advance out of.

Chase admitted he was homesick over in Europe and upon his return home he had to “kind of regroup and figure some things out for myself, get a little happier.”

Some home cooking and family time did the trick.

“Feels good. Feels like the hard work that I’ve been putting in the last month or so I’ve been home, it’s been really nice,” Chase said of making his first cut. “I’m just looking forward to this weekend, getting off to a hot start on the greens.”

With no playing status, the weekend is huge for Chase. A win, of course, would get him a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour. A top 10 would earn him a start in next week’s Houston Open. Right now, however, his plan is to attend the first stage of Q-School for the Korn Ferry Tour in Utah next week.

The younger Koepka didn’t get a chance to needle his older brother Thursday night as Brooks went to a show on the Las Vegas Strip. But the older Koepka expected to get an earful Friday night at dinner.

“I’ve gotten it before,” Brooks said with a smile. “I don’t think people realize in golf, you can get beat any day. He’s kicked my ass the last two days. Props to him. I was living and dying by it yesterday. I even had the Golf Channel on trying to see if maybe he would get a couple glimpses on there. Hopefully this week will be a special week for him.

“There’s 36 more holes. Anything can happen. It’s interesting because it’s kind of a free week for him. He can go out and free wheel it. So, go out there, enjoy it, and try to earn some money and try to earn some status out here.”

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