FORT WORTH, Texas — While others — cough, cough, Bryson and Phil — proceed to tinker with longer drivers, Jason Kokrak realized by way of a decade of booming tee photographs that this wasn’t an space on which he wanted to focus his consideration.
A top-five ball striker on the PGA Tour final season, the Xavier University product and resident of the Cleveland suburb of Hudson has seen his putter maintain him again from lasting success. Sure, he’s had moments, together with three second-place finishes in additional than a decade on Tour, however consistency has eluded him, together with his work on the greens the foremost trigger. Before this season, Kokrak had cracked the prime 100 in Strokes Gained: Putting only one time, when he completed 53rd in 2013.
But a suggestion from his caddie, David Robinson, has made all the difference in the profession of a participant who’s gone from the center of the pack to close the prime of extra leaderboards.
Robinson advised that Kokrak go to a longer putter, one with a 36-inch shaft, and the outcomes have been astounding. He picked up his first PGA Tour win final October at the CJ Cup in Las Vegas and has solely continued to achieve steam, incomes 5 top-25 finishes in his final eight begins.
Kokrak, who makes use of a Bettinardi putter, spent a while at the firm’s Illinois camp and has seen dramatic outcomes — he’s jumped to seventh on the Tour in Strokes Gained: Putting this season.
“I went to their studio and learned what my tendencies were. I went up in loft a few years ago, four or five years ago, more than I was comfortable with,” Kokrak mentioned. “But then about two years ago, my caddie saw that I was holding the putter kind of in the base of my palm here, and both hands weren’t completely on the putter. He said, ‘Don’t change anything, just go to a 36-inch putter,’ and that’s made all the difference.
“I’m able to stand up a little bit taller, I’m more comfortable and it’s working. And it helps that D-Rob is reading the greens for me.”
This week, Kokrak has discovered the good combine — he’s first in driving distance but has continued to maintain his putter sizzling. The combo has translated to the scoreboard and on Friday Kokrak posted his second straight 65, giving him the lead at the Charles Schwab Challenge after the early wave of gamers in the second spherical.
He was predictably happy together with his efficiency at the match’s midway level at Colonial Country Club, a spot the place he had struggled for years earlier than ending third in 2020.
“You know, the ball-striking was there today. I may be didn’t drive it quite as good as I did yesterday but irons were on top form. A couple miscues, one bogey. I hit the tree and got a bad lie in the bunker. It was plugged so I didn’t really have a play about there, but a nice save there, and I birdied No. 4,” he mentioned. “I’m giving myself a lot of birdie opportunities. If I can eliminate some silly mistakes, the bogeys will vanish.
“But other than that, I’m happy with the way I’m hitting the ball, getting more comfortable on the greens and just giving myself as many opportunities around this golf course as I can.”
Due to his exhibiting, Kokrak is destined to play in one in all the later teams on Saturday, particularly since a rain delay held up play throughout Friday’s second spherical.
Known as one in all the extra fun-loving gamers on Tour, would he relish the alternative to sleep in?
“Yeah,” he mentioned, “that would be nice.”