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Koepka round away from a PGA Tour card

Published on NewsOK Modified: October 12, 2013 at 8:34 pm •  Published: October 12, 2013
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SAN MARTIN, Calif. (AP) — Brooks Koepka knows what it's like to hold the lead going into the final round. And he knows what it's like to win.

Just not in America.

Playing the PGA Tour behind stops in Scotland and Shanghai, Koepka gave himself a great chance at yet another detour in his around-the-world journey this year. He had a 4-under 67 on Saturday in the Frys.com Open for a two-shot lead over George McNeil and Jason Kokrak going into the final round at CordeValle.

Koepka has won in Spain and Portugal, Italy and Scotland.

The 23-year-old Floridian started the year with no status on any tour, and since then has earned membership on the Challenge Tour and European Tour. A victory Sunday would give him a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour and keep him from having to reload the pages in his passport.

"Feels the same," he said. "It's all how much pressure you put on yourself. Obviously, I think there may be some people that don't think I can handle it on Sunday, just for the fact that I've never been sitting in this position. Just got to take it as it comes and just be relaxed about it. I'm pretty chill, so nothing really bothers me."

A warm afternoon ideal for scoring could have unsettled him.

Kokrak holed out for eagle from 129 yards in the first fairway. Koepka rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt. Robert Garrigus dropped a shot into 4 feet on the second hole. Koepka matched him with an 18-foot birdie.

He wound up at 15-under 198, one round away from earning membership on three tours in one year — not to mention a trip to the Masters.

"The Challenge Tour prepared me pretty well," Koepka said. "Learning how to win is a big deal."

McNeill made 10 birdies in his round of 62 that put him in the last group with Koepka. McNeill is a two-time winner on the PGA Tour. He has never played in the Masters because both wins were opposite-field events that didn't award full FedEx Cup points.

"I'm going for the record to win the most times without qualifying," McNeill said.

That's no longer the case.

The Frys.com Open is the first event on the 2013-14 PGA Tour schedule, which has gone to a wraparound season for the first time in history. It's the start of the FedEx Cup season, offering full points, meaning the winner goes to Augusta National.

Kokrak nearly ended his day the way it started when his wedge spun back toward the hole. He settled for a short birdie putt and a 68 that put him in the last group with Koepka and McNeill.

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