Unheralded Brooks Koepka of the US moved a step closer to clinching a maiden victory on the PGA Tour after stretching his lead to two shots in Saturday’s third round of the Frys.com Open in San Martin, California.
A stroke in front of the chasing pack overnight, Koepka kept his nearest challengers at bay as he fired a four-under 67 on another sun-splashed day of low scoring at CordeValle Golf Club in the opening event of the PGA Tour’s 2013-2014 season.
Though he was caught in a share of the lead by both Jason Kokrak and Robert Garrigus earlier in the round, the 23-year-old forged ahead with three birdies in the last six holes to post a 15-under total of 198.
“You’ve just got to approach it the same way,” Koepka, who is competing for the first time in a regular PGA Tour event, told the Golf Channel of his mindset for yesterday’s final round. “We’ve got a good game plan and things seems to be going pretty well. So just stick to it and everything will take care of itself. I played really well today.”
The big-hitting Kokrak carded a 68 to share second place at 13-under with fellow American George McNeill, who rocketed up the leaderboard with a 10-birdie 62, equaling the course record matched earlier in the day by compatriot Jimmy Walker.
“It was a lot of fun,” said McNeill, who was seeking a third victory on the PGA Tour. “Sixty-two, I don’t know how it could ever not be fun. I figured out something on the range last night and my swing was much more comfortable today. I felt free so I could go ahead and aim at some flags.”
Former world No. 1 Vijay Singh carded a 65 to sit three shots off the pace at 12-under, level with Walker.
Britain’s Scott Jamieson sat tied for second place after a remarkable third round at the Portugal Masters on Saturday during which he became the 17th player to shoot a 60 on the European Tour.
Jamieson, who made the cut by one shot, reeled off 11 birdies and seven pars at the Oceanico Victoria course in Vilamoura to finish with a 14-under tally of 199.
His 60 was the 18th on the European Tour, where no one has ever returned a “magical 59.”
Jamieson is two strokes behind fellow Briton Paul Waring, who shot a four-under 67, along with Ireland’s Simon Thornton, Jamie Donaldson of Wales and South Africa’s Hennie Otto.
The 29-year-old Scot narrowly failed with his attempt at a record-breaking birdie at the 18th when his chip just missed the cup.
“I thought it was going in, but unfortunately it hung on the lip and went past the hole,” Jamieson said. “But the fact that I gave myself a chance there at the last hole, I couldn’t ask for any more.”
Jamieson has only one European Tour victory to his name and that came at the Nelson Mandela Championship in South Africa in December last year.