Saturday, 04 May 2013
Brooks Koepka  (Getty Images)
Brooks Koepka (Getty Images)
Brooks Koepka scorched into a five shot lead in the Montecchia Golf Open presented by POLAROID with a magnificent nine under par 62 in the third round.

The American played a “flawless” round at Golf Club della Montecchia and at 18 under par overall his nearest rivals heading into the final day are Spaniard Agustin Domingo, who also sparkled with a seven under par 64, and Frenchman Edoardo Espana, who birdied five of the last six holes for a 67.

Koepka is playing his first full season on the Challenge Tour but has already signalled his potential, winning the Challenge de Catalunya last September and taking 43rd spot in the 2012 Rankings despite only playing ten events.

The Floridian birdied the fourth and fifth before a stunning run from the ninth yielded five birdies and an eagle in seven holes.

He needed to pick up two shots in the last three holes for an elusive sub-60 round, but parred his way home and then joked: “I choked.”

“It doesn’t get much better than that,” said Koepka, who turned 23 on Friday. “It was flawless golf. That run I got on from the ninth, I just holed everything. I was hitting it so close; I didn’t have a putt outside 15 feet.

“I’ve still got to go out there and play 18 holes tomorrow and I can’t think about winning yet. Someone could have a round like I did today and force me to do something. I’ll be taking the same approach as I’ve had all week; there’s no point playing defensively.”

Koepka, who qualified for last year’s US Open Championship, added: “I might be American but right now I see my future in Europe. The goal is to get a European Tour car for next season and I would love to do that. In time I might go back to the States, but right now I’m loving life on the Challenge Tour.”

Domingo and Espana - themselves three shots clear of the rest of the field - will have to produce something special on Sunday to prevent Koepka winning his second Challenge Tour title.

Domingo said: “Almost everything was perfect today. Obviously Brooks is far ahead but you never know in golf and the only thing I can do is play my best and see where I end up.”

Espana, who only turned professional in January and is playing this week courtesy of a sponsor’s invitation, added: “I found something with my putting on the back nine today so hopefully I can continue that tomorrow and finish as high up as I can. I won’t have many opportunities this year as I am relying on invites, so it’s important that I take my chances.”

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1KOEPKA, BrooksUSA18-23
2DOMINGO, AgustinESP18-16
3ROTA, AndreaITA18-13
4MANLEY, StuartWAL18-11
T5EDBERG, PelleSWE18-10
T5GUERRIER, JulienFRA18-10
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