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Well-traveled Koepka playing to stay close to home

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 13, 2014 at 2:57 pm •  Published: June 13, 2014

PINEHURST, N.C. (AP) — So many of the really good stories about Brooks Koepka are about where he's been. This week, it's about where he could be going next.

Calling the 24-year-old Florida native's route to the PGA Tour unconventional doesn't tell the half of it. Whether Koepka gets to stay here, though, could depend on how well he gets around Pinehurst No. 2 at this U.S. Open. He followed up an even-par opening round with a 68 Friday that left him at 2-under, but still eight shots behind leader Martin Kaymer.

But a strong showing would make Koepka a virtual lock to stick.

"That seems like a long way back, "but just (have to) keep doing what I'm doing and everything should take care of itself," he said. "I'm playing well. I just keep grinding it out and hopefully we'll see. Martin seems to be playing a different golf course; 10-under is incredible.

"But just take care of myself," Koepka added, "and I should be fine come Sunday."

After missing the cut at the 2012 U.S. Open, then turning pro and failing to get through qualifying school, Koepka decided to try his luck on Europe's minor-league circuit. He quickly collected four wins and full playing status on the European Tour — as well as 48 pages of government stamps in his passport and almost as many adventures.

He ate horse meat in Kazakhstan and learned how to maneuver through the bureaucracy of a dozen different countries — and almost as many languages — to get a visa.

The last part of his master plan is to play the tours on both sides of the Atlantic. Koepka has already taken advantage of his temporary membership on the PGA Tour to play 10 tournaments on these shores this year. He's allowed as many sponsor exemptions as he can get, but those have become increasingly hard to get.

Either way, Koepka needs to pick up enough FedEx Cup points by the end of the season to rank 125th on the PGA Tour. Currently, he's no. 106.

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