US Open champion Brooks Koepka is delighted to see his younger brother Chase knocking at the door on the Challenge Tour.
Brooks used the European Tour’s second-tier circuit to help him become a major winner, having won three times in 2013, including the Scottish Challenge in Aviemore, to earn a step up to the main Tour.
Now Chase is starting to make headway on the circuit as well after making his debut in last year’s event in the Highlands then returning recently to play in an event won by England’s Richard McEvoy.
Chase tied for second with Bradley Neil in Sardinia last weekend, having also finished in the top five in Denmark and Switzerland this season.
“It’s exciting to see him play well. He’s starting to come into his own,” said Brooks in the build up to the Open Championshiop at Royal Brikdale.
“He needed to come over and grow a bit, same as I did, and get more maturity. Learn how to do all the things as a professional. That’s important. That’s kind of how I learned it.
“He’s learning it now. I think he’s got a lot of room to grow. He’s just coming into himself right now, I think.
“He’s playing really well. Hopefully he keeps it up and he can get his European Tour card.
Spaniard Jon Rahm insists he can never come close to the late, great Seve Ballesteros, but takes encouragement from the comparison.
At 22, the Basque-born golfer arrives at Royal Birkdale the same age as Ballesteros when he won his first of his three Open titles, having announced himself to the world three years earlier in 1976 with a second-placed finish on the Southport links.
Rahm is currently the game’s hottest property, having rocketed to eighth in the world after just 12 months in the professional game thanks to wins on the PGA and European Tours, the latest a commanding victory at the Irish Open a fortnight ago.
“I wasn’t fortunate to be able to watch Seve much,” said the United States-based Spaniard.
“My family didn’t get into golf pretty much up to the close 2000s and by then, you know, he was already on the down slope of his career.
“I wish we would have, though. I’ve seen every video on YouTube that you can of Seve.
“I’ve seen his video here in ‘76, his one winning in ‘79 about a million times, how he plays the back nine without hitting the fairway, and makes 4-under par, it’s absolutely unbelievable.
“To whoever compares me to him, I’m never going to be Seve. Seve was so unique, so special.
“If I’m somewhat compared to him, to see the hopes people have in me, it’s amazing.
“I try to take it as a positive and embrace it. He’s a great idol of mine and I try to emulate a lot of things he used to, and a lot of that is the inspirational power he had, the way he brought masses together and people together.
“If I could do a quarter of whatever he did, I’d probably be satisfied with my career.”
20/1 shot Tommy Fleetwood is the current worst result with William Hill in the 146th Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.
The usual suspects of Justin Rose (20/1) and Rickie Fowler (16/1) are close behind and would all cost the bookies a significant six figure sum.
Of the outsiders, punters are putting their pounds on Ian Poulter, who is a 66/1 shot.
“For us the Open is by far the biggest event in the golfing calendar and we could easily accept up to £5 million pounds across our shops and online,” said William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams.
“Tommy Fleetwood is our worst result at present but we expect Justin Rose and Rickie Fowler will overtake him before Thursday morning.”
Roger McStravick, winner of the USGA Herbert Warren Wind Book Award and BGCS Murdoch Medal for St Andrews In The Footsteps of Old Tom Morris, has released his new title, ‘A History of Golf’.
“I am hugely excited about this new book that has been three years in the making. My aim is to encourage more people to delve into golf history,” he said.
“I love it and I simply wanted to share that in a format that was beautiful to look at, whilst still retaining the research levels of Footsteps.”
Longniddry’s Cameron Gallagher, with a three-over 74 to sit just inside the projected cut mark, is the top Scot after the first round of the McGregor Trophy at Burnham & Berrow.
England’s Josh Hill and Estonia’s Joonas Turba shot four-under 67s to set the pace at the Somerset venue.
Turba, who came in late in the day, dented a strong English challenge which saw home players dominate the top of the leaderboard in the English U16 Boys’ Open Championship.
There was an English winner in the Scottish Under-16 Girls Open Stroke-Play Championship at Mortonhall.
Beamish Park’s Alexandria Stevenson finished two shots clear of the field at the Edinburgh course after rounds of 73 and 74.
Crail 13-year-old Anna McKay was the top home player in eighth on 153.