On a day of low scoring, Brooks Koepka kept up his end of the bargain and stayed in the lead at the Frys.com Open in San Martin, Calif.
In his first regular PGA Tour event, Koepka rolled in two birdie putts to start his round Saturday and drove the par-4 17th green for another birdie. It added up to a 4-under 67 and a two-shot lead over George McNeill and Jason Kokrak going into the final round at CordeValle.
A win would mean more than just a trip to the Masters for Koepka.
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 today would give him a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour, and keep him from having to reload the pages in his passport. He already has played in 15 countries this year, with three victories on the Challenge Tour.
McNeill made 10 birdies in his round of 62 that put him in the last group with Koepka. McNeill is a two-time winner on the PGA Tour. He has never played in the Masters because both wins were opposite-field events that didn’t award full FedEx Cup points.
That’s no longer the case.
The Frys.com Open is the first event on the 2013-14 PGA Tour schedule, which has gone to a wraparound season for the first time in history. It’s the start of the FedEx Cup season, offering full points, meaning the winner goes to Augusta National.
Kokrak started his day by holing out from 129 yards in the first fairway for eagle, and he nearly ended his third round the same way. He settled for a short birdie putt and a 68 that kept him in the game.
Koepka was at 15-under 198.
LPGA: Lexi Thompson moved into position for her second LPGA Tour title, shooting a 5-under 66 to take a three-stroke lead in the LPGA Malaysia.
The 18-year-old American, the 2011 Navistar LPGA Classic winner, had five birdies in her bogey-free round to reach 17-under 196. She opened with rounds of 67 and 63.
South Korea’s Ilhee Lee was second after a 70.
CHAMPIONS: Russ Cochran shot his second straight 6-under 66 to take a two-stroke lead after the second round of the SAS Championship in Cary, N.C.
The 54-year-old left-hander, the 2010 winner at Prestonwood Country Club, birdied five of the first six holes, dropped a stroke on the par-5 seventh and added birdies on Nos. 15 and 17. He won the Principal Charity Classic in Iowa in June for his fourth victory on the 50-and-over tour.
Defending champion Bernhard Langer, Kirk Triplett and David Frost were tied for second. They each shot their second straight 67. Triplett is coming off a successful title defense two weeks ago in the First Tee Open at Pebble Beach.
PGA EUROPEAN: Scotland’s Scott Jamieson matched the European Tour record with an 11-under 60 to pull within two strokes of leader Paul Waring after the third round of the Portugal Masters.
The 18th player to shoot 60 on the tour, Jamieson settled for par on the final hole when his 15-foot birdie chip grazed the edge of the hole and stayed out. After opening with rounds of 66 and 73 to make the cut by a stroke, he had 11 birdies in the bogey-free round.
Waring, from England, had a 67 to reach 16 under.
Jamieson was 14 under along with Ireland’s Simon Thornton, Wales’ Jamie Donaldson and South Africa’s Hennie Otto. Thornton shot 65, Donaldson had a 66, and Otto a 69.