Brooks Koepka’s fine form continued as the American joined France’s Edouard Dubois at the top of the leaderboard courtesy of a round of 66 on the second day of the Fred Olsen Challenge de España.
Thanks chiefly to his victory in the Montecchia Golf Open presented by POLAROID, Koepka currently leads the Rankings in his first full season on the Challenge Tour, and the 23 year old is showing no signs of slowing down as he mixed eight birdies – including four in a row from the 15th hole – with three bogeys in a superb display at Tecina Golf, in the Canary Islands.
That moved Koepka to 12 under par alongside overnight leader Dubois, who signed for a round of 67 which included an eagle two at the ninth hole, where he drove the green.
Koepka said: “I got off to a bad start with three putts at the first, and my putting just wasn’t there early on. I missed a bunch of short putts, but I was battling well. I’ve got a few issues to sort out on the greens. I’m normally a good putter but I don’t know what happened today, it could be the speed. But I feel I’m playing well enough to win, I just have to try to find my form on the greens.
“I love playing on the Challenge Tour, it’s a lot of fun. It’s a great experience, you’ve got guys who have played on The European Tour for years, and you learn a lot from them. We may not have the perfect weather as in the States, or the same flat golf courses we have there, but that is boring. I prefer to play in cold, hot, windy conditions on very different golf courses, from links to parkland. My goal is to play on The European Tour.”
Dubois has previous European Tour experience, having graduated from the Challenge Tour in 2011, but the Frenchman struggled to stamp his authority on the top tier last year, finishing in 173rd place in The Race to Dubai.
After some soul-searching and intense practice over the winter the 24 year old has rediscovered his form, and will head into the weekend in a strong position to capture his third Challenge Tour title.
He said: “I played well again today, it was as windy as yesterday but I controlled my ball flight well. I was four under par after nine holes, which was the same start as yesterday, but then the wind really picked up and made life tougher.
“But it was still a good day, and it was important to get close to the top of the leaderboard going into the weekend. Putting was the best part of my game today, but all of my game was in pretty good shape. I’m ready for the weekend, I just have to relax and try to play my best golf.”
Dubois’ fellow Frenchman Julien Guerrier currently occupies third place on eight under par after signing for a round of 70, whilst the Spanish trio of Luis Claverie (66), Alfredo Garcia-Heredia (65) and Jesus Legarrea (70) share fourth place on seven under par alongside England’s Daniel Brooks (66), Belgian Pierre Relecom (68) and Switzerland’s Damian Ulrich (68).