Monday, 05 June 2017
Chase Koepka (photo by Emanuel Stotzer)  (European Tour)
Chase Koepka (photo by Emanuel Stotzer) (European Tour)

As the European Challenge Tour returns to Royal Waterloo GC for the KPMG Trophy, we profile five players to look out for in Belgium.

Chase Koepka 

The young American arrives in Lasne in fine form having recorded back-to-back career-best finishes on Europe’s top developmental tour. 

After catching the eye at the D+D REAL Czech Challenge, where he finished tied 16th, the 23 year old was in contention for a maiden professional victory at last week’s Swiss Challenge presented by ASG.

A six under par third round of 65, which included a sublime hole-out eagle, put the Florida native within one of the lead heading into the final day in Lucerne. 

Out in the last group on Sunday with eventual champion Joel Girrbach, Koepka battled for a one under par closing round, which gave him a share of third place alongside compatriot Julian Suri. 

“It would be great to win then he won’t bug me as much,” said Koepka, after admitting his brother Brooks, himself a four-time Challenge Tour champion, had been teasing him for not winning as a professional. 

But given the way the younger Koepka has been playing of late, it may not be long until Chase adds to his family’s impressive trophy cabinet. 

Gavin Moynihan

Another player growing in stature each week on the 2017 Road to Oman is Moynihan. 

The Irishman began the season with a top 25 finish at the Turkish Airlines Challenge, before showing his match play prowess at the Andalucía Costa del Sol Match Play 9. 

After coming through an 11-man play-off to make the final 32 in Spain, the former Walker Cup star came alive over the weekend, claiming a number of scalps – including number one seed Charlie Ford – to set up a final clash with Aaron Rai. 

While Rai eventually triumphed, the pair birdied six of the eight holes played, such was the quality of the golf on display in Andalucía. 

Buoyed by that performance, Moynihan claimed a share of 16th the following week in the Czech Republic – a result that has secured his place in the top ten in the Road to Oman Rankings for the last fortnight. 

The 22 year old, who won for the first time as a professional earlier this year at the Lookers Championship on the EuroPro Tour, returns to action for the first time since the Czech Challenge this week – and will be full of confidence.

Julien Brun 

Also impressing in his last Challenge Tour outing was Brun.

The Frenchman, who became the sixth amateur to win on the Challenge Tour when he triumphed in his homeland in 2012, carded a nine under par second round of 62 in Andalucía – the lowest round of his career. 

The 25 year old, who finished second behind Thomas Pieters at the 2012 NCAA Men’s individual Championship while studying at Texas Christian University, narrowly lost out to Swiss Challenge champion Girrrbach in the first round of the match play stage of the event. 

Back playing a more traditional format this week, the former World Amateur Number Three will be looking to rediscover the form that saw him play the round of his life in Spain.

Gunn Yang

Like Brun, Yang arrives in Belgium this week eager to make his mark on the professional game after a stellar amateur career. 

The 23 year old became only the second South Korean winner of the U.S. Amateur in 2014, and after a brief stint competing on the PGA Tour, Yang returned to San Diego State University to complete his studies.

Making his professional debut this week, Yang will be hoping he can make an immediate impact on the Challenge Tour.

Daniel Gaunt

Gaunt has found memories of Royal Waterloo GC. 

The experienced Australian won his second Challenge Tour title there in 2013, beating Holland’s Wil Besseling in a play-off. 

The 38 year old, who also triumphed at the English Challenge in 2010, is a proven winner on the Challenge Tour, and also has the bonus of being the only man in the field to have won at Royal Waterloo GC before.

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