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Kokrak gets 2nd win quicker, overcoming Spieth at Colonial

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Jason Kokrak performed in 233 PGA Tour occasions earlier than getting his first victory. The large hitter did not have to attend practically as lengthy to win once more, although this one might have been tougher as a result of he needed to overcome an area favourite at Colonial.

Kokrak shot an even-par 70 in a final-group showdown Sunday with resurgent Jordan Spieth, profitable the Charles Schwab Challenge at 14-under 266. He was two strokes higher than Spieth, who hit his strategy from the tough at No. 18 over the inexperienced and into the water.

“You stay in the moment and it’s a golf course. You’re playing the golf course, you’re playing yourself. You’re not really playing Jordan,” Kokrak mentioned. “But for where we got to in comparison to some of the other players, I knew it was going to be a boxing match and see who was going to come out on top.”

There had been 5 bogeys and 5 birdies for Kokrak, who twice wanted two pictures to get out of bunkers. There had been additionally back-to-back bogeys at Nos. 15 and 16 earlier than a key par-saving 7-foot putt after his strategy missed the seventeenth inexperienced.

But when he struck his round-ending 4-footer, he adopted the ball to the cup and eventually broke right into a smile when celebrating with caddie David Robinson.

An enormous crowd adopted the one contending group all day, most of them ready to erupt for Dallas-native Spieth, who started the spherical with a one-stroke lead earlier than a bogey-filled 73. Kokrak mentioned he heard some damaging feedback and knew he “definitely was not the favorite,” but did have a high school buddy and a cousin’s friend supporting him on the course.

“Naturally, you’re going to pull for the hometown kid. I appreciate it. I appreciate the gamesmanship,” Kokrak said. “Jordan was amazing all day. He’s a true champion and he’s won multiple times and is an incredible player. I’m glad to be standing victorious above a guy that’s so good.”

Kokrak, enjoying in his sixteenth event since profitable the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek in October, joined Bryson DeChambeau and Stewart Cink as the one gamers with two wins on the PGA Tour this season.

Spieth, the 2016 winner at Colonial, was a runner-up there for the third time after main every of the primary three rounds.

“I didn’t play well at all, quite simply,” Spieth mentioned. “I could have shot even par today and won the golf tournament, but from the very get-go, just a really bad start, and then tried to fight my way through it. I was just really off with my golf swing. I really lost it this weekend. You just have to be in control around Colonial.”

It was nonetheless his eighth top-10 end in his final 11 begins this 12 months, yet one more prime 10 than he had the earlier two seasons mixed.

Along with the $1.35 million winner’s examine and plaid jacket, Kokrak received a custom-made restored 1946 Schwab Power Wagon, a truck with 40-inch tires and a mannequin date matching the primary 12 months of Colonial, the longest-running PGA occasion at the identical venue.

“I’m a big guy with a big truck with a big jacket and a big paycheck. So I guess everything’s bigger in Texas, right,” he mentioned.

Charley Hoffman had a closing 65 to complete in a four-way tie for third at 10 beneath. He additionally had a tournament-best 62 on Friday, however that was sandwiched by a pair of over-par rounds (71 on Thursday and 72 on Saturday). Patton Kizzire (67), Sebastian Munoz (68) and Ian Poulter (68) had been additionally at 10-under 270. Troy Merritt was alone in seventh at 7 beneath.

Sergio Garcia was in third place at 10 beneath to begin the ultimate spherical, however the 41-year-old Spaniard, who received the primary of his 11 PGA Tour wins 20 years in the past at Colonial, bogeyed the opening par 5, then had had a three-putt for double bogey at No. 3. He shot a 76 and tied for twentieth at 276.

Kokrak took the lead for good with birdies at the longest and shortest holes. He made a 13-foot putt at the 629-yard eleventh, then a 17-footer off the perimeter at the 170-yard thirteenth after a tee shot the got here near going into the water fronting the par 3.

Spieth solely had two birdies, the final with an strategy to lower than 2 ft on No. 9 that matched them at 14 beneath going to the again 9.

After going right into a greenside bunker at the 551-yard opening gap, Kokrak did not get the ball out of there on the primary attempt to the bogey shortly put him two strokes behind.

But Spieth, who had solely two bogeys within the first 55 holes, then bogeyed three holes in a row — and had two extra on the again 9. He went in the fitting tough after which over the inexperienced on each Nos. 2 and three, then hit right into a bunker fronting the tough 241-yard, par-3 fourth. He blasted to 6 ft, however his par try curled across the fringe of the cup.

Kokrak led for the primary time after a 23-foot birdie putt at the fifth, however his different bunker bother got here at No. 7, the place he bogeyed whereas Spieth made par after a wayward tee shot hit a tree and ricocheted into the green.


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