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Brooks Koepka has two-shot lead at Open

The 23-year-old Floridian looks to earn a PGA Tour exemption with a win on Sunday.

October 12, 2013|Wire reports
  • Brooks Koepka holds a two-shot lead over George McNeil and Jason Kokrak going into the final round of the Open.
Brooks Koepka holds a two-shot lead over George McNeil and Jason Kokrak… (Tony Avelar / Associated…)

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 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.


Lexi Thompson, an 18-year-old American, moved into position for her second LPGA Tour title, shooting a five-under 66 to take a three-stroke lead in the LPGA Malaysia at Kuala Lumpur. She had five birdies in her bogey-free round to reach 17-under 196.


Russ Cochran shot his second consecutive six-under 66 to take a two-stroke lead after the second round of the Champions Tour's SAS Championship at Cary, N.C. The 54-year-old left-hander birdied five of the first six holes. Defending champion Bernhard Langer, Kirk Triplett and David Frost were tied for second. Jeff Sluman was disqualified after he told rules officials Saturday morning that he had accidentally used two models of balls during his round Friday. No penalty strokes were assessed Friday, and he signed an incorrect scorecard. He was four under after the first day, two shots behind the leaders.


Nadal loses in Shanghai semifinals

Rafael Nadal lost his first match since reclaiming the No. 1 ranking this week, falling to a resurgent Juan Martin del Potro, 6-2, 6-4, Saturday in the Shanghai Masters semifinals at China.

The fifth-ranked Del Potro will try to win his first Masters title Sunday against top-seeded Novak Djokovic, who defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the other semifinal, 6-2, 7-5. Del Potro hadn't defeated Nadal since the 2009 U.S. Open semifinals, when the Argentine went on to win his only Grand Slam title.

Del Potro overpowered Nadal with his deep, punishing groundstrokes and fended off all six break points he faced. Nadal's serve was challenged throughout. After not dropping service game in 28 games this week, Nadal was broken twice to start the match as del Potro raced to 4-0 lead.

Roger Federer, who has a record 17 Grand Slam titles, is splitting with coach Paul Annacone after 3 1/2 years together. The move came two days after Federer's latest loss, a third-round defeat by Gael Monfils at the Shanghai Masters. Federer said on a website posting: "After numerous conversations culminating at the end of our most recent training block, we felt like this was the best time and path for both of us."

Ana Ivanovic defeated Stefanie Voegele, 6-4, 6-4, to set up a final against top-seeded Angelique Kerber at the Generali Ladies tournament at Linz, Austria.

Samantha Stosur swept past sixth-seeded Madison Keys, 6-1, 6-2, to earn a spot in the final at Osaka, Japan, against fifth-seeded Eugenie Bouchard.


Hoyer's season officially over

Cleveland quarterback Brian Hoyer, who led the Browns to wins in his first to starts, has been placed on injured reserve because a torn knee ligament, officially ending his season.

The Kansas City Chiefs have placed rookie tight end Travis Kelce on injured reserve after he had arthroscopic surgery this week for damaged cartilage in his left knee.


Bulls' Rose out with sore knee

Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose sat out an exhibition game at Rio de Janeiro against the Washington Wizards because of a sore left knee, the same one that kept him out all last season. Rose had played two exhibition games without any sign of problems, but Bulls Coach Tom Thibodeau said the knee flared up in practice Friday. "We wanted to see where he was today, but he wasn't as well as we would have liked," Thibodeau said. "So if he needs a day, or a couple of days we'll do that."


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