Brooks Koepka's recent withdrawal from the CJ Cup due to a knee issue has suddenly made him a question mark for the upcoming Presidents Cup. In the meantime, his younger brother, Chase Koepka, found a way to take advantage of his absence.
On Friday, Chase took a big step toward earning status on the Korn Ferry Tour next season and he did it with the help of Brooks' bag man, Ricky Elliott. The man who has caddied the elder Koepka to all four of his major championship wins while ascending to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking, guided Chase through the second stage of Q School in McKinney, Tex., despite a tough start to the final round.
After that opening double bogey, Koepka shot six under the rest of the round to shoot 68 and finish T-14. The top 20 and ties advanced to the third and final stage.
Chase has been playing solid golf of late, including appearances in two fall PGA Tour events. The 25-year-old made the cut and finished 67th at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, and he also finished T-46 at the no-cut CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges. The brothers played as a team in the Zurich Classic the past two seasons, finishing T-5 and T-22.
Taylor Montgomery won the qualifier at TPC Craig Ranch by two shots. You may recognize the UNLV product's name from his domination of the Major Series of Putting the past few years.
This was the first of five second-stage qualifiers. Koepka and the rest of those advancing will compete in the Q School Final State Dec. 12-15 at Orange County National, where the top 40 spots and ties from the final stage will receive at least some status on the Korn Ferry Tour next season.
That tournament happens to overlap with the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne. In other words, if Brooks is back by then, Chase is going to have to find another caddie.