World No. 1 Brooks Koepka is the headliner at this week's Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. But for at least one day, family bragging rights went to younger brother Chase.
Making just his fourth PGA Tour appearance, the 25-year-old fired a bogey-free 66 to find himself near the top of the leader board after Day 1 at TPC Summerlin. That's four shots ahead of big brother Brooks, who is making his 2019-'20 season debut in Las Vegas. That's not to say Chase didn't give his four-time major champion sibling some credit for his good start.
"Yeah, we played together on Tuesday," Chase said of Brooks, 29, who finished runner-up in this event in 2016. "Obviously he's almost won here before, so it was nice to see his thoughts on different tee shots, how certain holes kind of play in the morning versus late in the afternoon."
Like Brooks, Chase started his pro career playing the Challenge Tour in Europe. He will try to earn his Korn Ferry Tour card beginning at next week's first stage of Q School. That is, of course, if he doesn't earn his PGA Tour card with a win this week.
Koepka is playing on a sponsor exemption this week, but two of his other PGA Tour starts came directly through Brooks' help. The duo played as a team in the Zurich Classic the past two seasons, finishing T-5 and T-22.
To be fair to Brooks, he was knocking a bit of rust off following offseason stem cell treatment to repair a partially torn patella tendon in his left knee. But, well, scoreboard. When asked by reporters if he'd needle his big brother after beating him, Chase said:
"Yeah. Usually. It's nice. But, you know, he's so good. He's so good. I do have to needle him every now and then when I do get a chance to nip him on a day like today. I'm sure he'll hear it over dinner."
Good for you, Chase, but be careful. We've all seen how Brooks responds to a challenge.