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October 11 2013

9:25 PM

Koepka leading Frys.com Open

By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM

SAN MARTIN, Calif. -- Brooks Koepka is making the most of his sponsor exemption into the Frys.com. The 23-year-old Floridian has had plenty of success in Europe during his brief pro career, but also wants to earn status on his home tour. A good week here in Northern California could help that goal.

Koepka is at 11-under 131 (67-64), one shot ahead of Jason Kokrak. Robert Garrigus and Jim Herman, who regained his TOUR card at the inaugural Web.com Tour Finals, are another shot back.

"It would be big," Koepka said about a potential victory. "Obviously, it would be nice to win and get status over here. But you play good, everything kind of takes care of itself."

Koepka, of Wellington, Fla., turned pro in June 2012 after an All-American career at Florida State. He headed to Europe and won in his eighth start on the Challenge Tour, Europe's equivalent to the Web.com Tour. He failed to advance out of the second stage of PGA TOUR q-school and returned to Europe this season, quickly winning three times to earn an immediate promotion to the European Tour. He has status on that circuit for the remainder of this year and 2014.

Koepka, No. 100 in the Official World Golf Ranking, is playing this week on a sponsor exemption. This is his first start in a PGA TOUR event, excluding majors. He made eight birdies and an eagle in Friday's 64.

Koepka said he does not have any confirmed starts on TOUR after this week. A top-10 would earn him a start in next week's Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. A victory would earn him membership on the PGA TOUR.

He estimates he has competed in 15 countries this year. He’s won in Spain, Italy and Scotland.

"Learning how to travel, that was the big thing," Koepka said of his international experience. "Week-in and week-out, you learn how to handle yourself. It helps you grow as a person, too."

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