This weekend, the world’s oldest major golf championship, the Open Championship is being contested this week at Royal Birkdale in Southport, England. Through two rounds, Winter Park native Matt Kuchar sits in second place just two shots behind leader Justin Spieth, a two-time major champion who finished just one shot out of playoff in the 2015 Open. Kuchar’s first professional win was in Coral Springs at the Honda Classic in 2002. Now 39, Kuchar is seeking his first major championship win.
Sitting in a tie for third entering the weekend is Brooks Koepka, a West Palm Beach native who last month won the US Open at Erin Hills in Wisconsin. The 27 year-old attended Florida State University and lives currently in Jupiter. Koepka took the unique road of playing abroad on the European Tour before becoming a full PGA Tour member in 2015. He also played the European Challenge Tour. In an era, when few American golfers try and cut it abroad (because the US PGA Tour has higher prize money and gives more World Golf Rankings points among other reasons), Koepka is unique. This experience should serve him well in an Open Championship where the conditions are daunting and understanding of how to play links courses (like Erin Hills where Koepka lapped the field) might prove critical.
In other Florida-related news around this tournament, the 1998 Open Champion at Birkdale, Mark O’Meara a resident of Windemere finished his career playing the championship on the 18th today.