Koepka making most out of return home to America
23-year-old has one-stroke lead in Frys.com Open
The Associated Press
SAN MARTIN, Calif. — After a year spent traveling the world, Brooks Koepka suddenly is in a position to play a lot more golf at home.
In his first regular PGA Tour event, Koepka surged to the top of the leaderboard Friday in the Frys.com Open with a 7-under 64, giving him a one-shot lead over Jason Kokrak (65) going into the weekend at CordeValle.
Koepka, a 23-year-old Floridian, received a sponsor’s exemption into the PGA Tour season opener. Instead of trying to qualify for Web.com events last season, Koepka packed his bags and passport for a 15-country journey that has served him well. If he were to win the Frys.com Open, he would have a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour.
In the same situation is Andres Gonzales of Olympia, who had the low round of the day with a 62 for a 6-under 136 total and is tied for 11th.
Gonzales thought he had his card wrapped up at the Web.com Tour Championship until two other players rallied to knock Gonzales out. He’s only in the Frys.com Open because he finished in the top 10 in the previous PGA Tour event in August.
Gig Harbor’s Kyle Stanley (69) is tied for sixth at 7-under 135. Michael Putnam of Tacoma (71) is tied for 21st at 138. Former Washington player Chris Williams (75) missed the cut at 144.
• Larry Nelson shot his age for a share of the lead in the SAS Championship, while Nick Faldo (elbow injury) failed to finish the round in his first regular Champions Tour event, held in Cary, N.C. The 66-year-old Nelson had a 6-under 66 to join Russ Cochran and Mark Mouland atop the leaderboard at Prestonwood. Kirk Triplett, a Pullman High graduate, had a 67 and is tied for fourth. Rick Fehr of Seattle had a 71, tied for 33rd.
• Ilhee Lee of South Korea kept her lead with a 65 in the LPGA Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur while 18-year-old American Lexi Thompson shot an 8-under 63 and was one stroke behind.