The Norman Transcript

Sports

June 26, 2013

Koepka gets major upgrade in Europe

(Continued)

NORMAN —

That would be Peter Uihlein, his roommate in south Florida, and someone who knows these ropes. Uihlein also started his pro career on the smaller Challenge Tour in Europe, and he won the Madeira Island Open last month to secure his European Tour card.

One of the house rules in Florida is that whoever wins a tournament has to buy a jet ski. Koepka and Uihlein won two weeks apart in May, and Koepka has added two more titles since.

“We’re going to have a whole fleet,” Koepka said.

Koepka and Uihlein have known each other since junior golf. Both failed to make it through Q-school in America and Europe — “Struggled at the wrong time,” Koepka said — and thought the best way to improve was playing a steady diet of tournaments on the Challenge Tour instead of trying to Monday qualify on the Web.com Tour in America or get lucky with a sponsor exemption.

“I think guys get caught up trying to do Monday qualifiers, and there’s a lot of disappointment,” Koepka said. “You can shoot 66 and go home, and you don’t build on the rounds. Anybody can have four good days. I thought my best option was to come over here. I think it will make me a more well-rounded player. ... I don’t think Europe is for everyone. But it’s worked well for me.”

Depending on how the next month goes, they are closing in on the top 100 in the world and would have a shot at the PGA Championship.

Uihlein is at No. 121. Koepka is at No. 122.

“Yeah, I know,” Koepka said with a laugh when asked about the world ranking. “I already heard about it from him on the range.”

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THE KING AND STRANNY: Arnold Palmer has 62 wins on the PGA Tour, seven major championships and the 1954 U.S. Amateur. Along with all those trophies, one of his most prized possessions from his career in golf is a Vicuna top coat from Frank Stranahan.

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