FORT WORTH, Texas — After a prolonged break brought on by the pandemic, the Charles Schwab Challenge marked golf’s return in 2020, however with out followers, the vibe was predictably subdued.
This 12 months, those that attended the seventy fifth anniversary of this occasion have been seeking to let a 12 months of pent-up feelings free in celebration of native son Jordan Spieth, who grew up lower than an hour from Colonial Country Club.
The story was all however written on Saturday — Spieth held a one-stroke edge after 54 holes and, except for one single competitor, it regarded like he couldn’t be caught.
But someone forgot handy Jason Kokrak the script.
The jovial Ohioan obtained a bit riled early, however then bounced again and placed on a powerful show of huge drives, stable placing and resilience, grabbing his second PGA Tour title by ending at 14 beneath for the four-round occasion. Spieth was second at 12 beneath.
Kokrak — a Xavier University product who calls the Cleveland suburb of Hudson, Ohio, his hometown — took the lead on the entrance 9 whereas Spieth struggled by way of the three-hole Horrible Horseshoe, a tough space that circles the driving vary. Spieth made bogey on two of three whereas Kokrak dropped a curling 23-foot putt on No. 5 to leap in entrance.
But it regarded just like the wheels may fall off for Kokrak on No. 7, when he wanted two tries to get out of a greenside bunker, then angrily heaved his ball into close by timber — maybe sensing he’d missed a chance whereas Spieth was misfiring.
Instead, Kokrak settled down, obtained again on prime with a birdie on No. 11 — one among solely two par 5s at Colonial — and watched as Spieth made par.
Kokrak posted bogeys on each Nos. 15 and 16, giving Spieth life because the lead was minimize to 1, however he made an enormous 7-foot putt on No. 17 to keep up the lead. On 18, Spieth discovered the water along with his second shot, taking the stress off the two-time Ohio Amateur champion, who two-putted his strategy to victory.
Kokrak has been higher than ever on the greens since caddie David Robinson suggested a move 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 earlier than coming to Colonial.
Kokrak, who makes use of a Bettinardi putter, spent a while at the corporate’s Illinois camp and has seen dramatic outcomes — he’s jumped to seventh on the Tour in Strokes Gained: Putting this season. He was tenth within the discipline in that stat this week to go together with No. 1 in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee.
Meanwhile, regardless of falling, Spieth remains to be having fun with a renaissance of types. During a stretch of 4 Texas PGA Tour occasions in 9 weeks, Spieth has all top-10 finishes — together with a victory at the Valero Texas Open.