Jason Kokrak wins first PGA Tour occasion at ‘house’ Shadow Creek
NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. – In his 10th season, in his 233rd event, Jason Kokrak can lastly name himself a PGA Tour winner.
Kokrak earned each little bit of it Sunday within the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek. He matched the most effective spherical of the event with an 8-under 64 to beat a three-shot deficit at the beginning and win a duel on the again 9 with Xander Schauffele.
“Could not be happier,” mentioned Kokrak.
The timing could not be higher. The CJ Cup moved from South Korea this yr to Shadow Creek due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Kokrak is an envoy for MGM Resorts, which owns the celebrated Tom Fazio design.
“It seems like house,” Kokrak mentioned. “I’ve performed this golf course sufficient that I ought to realize it by now.”
Kokrak started his rally with 4 straight birdies on the entrance 9, and birdie putts from 20 toes and 18 toes to start out the again 9 stretched his result in two photographs.
CJ Cup at Shadow Creek: Full-field scores | Full protection
Schauffele answered with three straight birdies, the final one a 45-footer by utilizing his putter from the thick collar of the 13th inexperienced to catch him. Then, it was a matter of who blinked first.
That turned out to be Schauffele on the par-5 16th, when he solely managed to advance his shot from deep tough left of the green some 85 yards into extra tough. Swinging with all his may, his third shot peeled off to the correct into extra tough nicely beneath the inexperienced, and he made his solely bogey in his spherical of 66.
Kokrak additionally was within the left tough, hacked out to the correct tough and put his third shot within the bunker. However he splashed it out to simply inside Four toes and made par for a one-shot lead, and Schauffele could not catch up.
Kokrak, a 35-year-old from Ohio, all however clinched it when he drilled his drive into the green on the par-5 18th, leaving solely a brief iron to 25 toes. He two-putted for his ultimate birdie of a spherical he will not quickly neglect.
Kokrak on CJ Cup win: ‘Could not be happier’
Russell Henley, who started the ultimate spherical with a three-shot lead, by no means received something going early and fell behind when he bogeyed the par-5 seventh and Kokrak was on his early run of birdies.
Henley’s hopes ended on the reachable par-4 11th when he drove over the inexperienced into thick tough and, going through a downhill chip, left it within the tough wanting the inexperienced and made bogey on the second-easiest scoring gap at Shadow Creek. That put him 4 photographs behind, and a late push of birdies was by no means going to be sufficient.
He closed with a 70 and tied for third with Tyrrell Hatton, who was coming off a victory final week within the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. Hatton closed with a 65.
Kokrak performed bogey-free on a course the place hassle was by no means too distant. Justin Thomas, inside 5 photographs of the lead, has two straight bogeys on the entrance 9 and three extra in a four-hole stretch on the again for a 74. Rory McIlroy was at the very least headed for end till he had a pair of bogeys and two double bogeys over the past 5 holes for a 74.
Making it even harder on Kokrak and Schauffele was Jason Day, the third of their group, withdrew with a neck damage on the second gap. That meant a twosome amidst a course full of threesomes, and plenty of ready. They nonetheless performed on the highest stage, with Kokrak delivering all the important thing putts.
Kokrak earned a spot within the Masters subsequent month from reaching the Tour Championship a yr in the past in August. Now he can plan on two journeys to Augusta Nationwide, qualifying for the 2021 event by profitable.