Kokrak holds off Spieth to capture PGA Colonial crown

Kokrak holds off Spieth to capture PGA Colonial crown

WASHINGTON: Jason Kokrak held off home-region hero Jordan Spieth down the final holes Sunday (May 31) to win the US PGA Tour Charles Schwab Challenge by two strokes.

The 36-year-old American fired a level par 70 in Sunday’s final round to finish 72 holes on 14-under 266 at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.

Kokrak stumbled with bogeys at the par-4 15th and par-3 16th but closed with back-to-back pars to deny Spieth, who had ended a four-year win drought last month at the Texas Open.

“They were definitely rooting for the guy next to me,” Kokrak said of Spieth, who hails from nearby Dallas.

“We had a little ebb and flow. Grinded it out. Kept patient. Didn’t finish the way I wanted to but got the win.”

Kokrak, who claimed his first US PGA title last October at the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek, became the season’s third multiple winner after reigning US Open champion Bryson DeChambeau and 2009 British Open winner Stewart Cink.

Spieth, a three-time major winner who won at Colonial in 2016, had cheers but stumbled to a final-round 73 on a course where only silence greeted players last year.

The event was the first played in 2020 after a three-month Covid-19 hiatus and spectators were not allowed.

England’s Ian Poulter birdied three of the last four holes to share third on 270 with Colombian Sebastian Munoz and Americans Charley Hoffman and Patton Kizzire.

American Troy Merritt was eighth on 273.

Kokrak carried a two-stroke lead over Spieth to the par-3 16th, where the leader found a bunker and missed an 11-foot putt to make bogey, trimming his edge over Spieth to a lone stroke.

At 17, Spieth saved par with a putt from just inside six feet while Kokrak did the same from just beyond seven feet to keep Kokrak ahead by one at the 18th tee.

Spieth wound up in the right rough while Kokrak found the edge of the fairway.

Spieth blasted out with a pitching wedge but the ball rolled off the green and into a water hazard and Kokrak sealed victory by putting his approach safely onto the green 50 feet from the cup. Spieth made bogey and Kokrak two-putted for the victory.

The day began with Spieth holding a one-stroke lead over Kokrak and both struggled early. Kokrak began with a bogey and made another at the fourth while Spieth reeled off three bogeys in a row starting at the second, leaving them level on the fifth tee.

Kokrak birdied the fifth from just outside 23 feet, then birdied the sixth from just inside 10 feet and answered a bogey at the seventh, after needing two to escape a greenside bunker, with a birdie from six feet at the par-3 eighth.

Spieth, meanwhile, dropped his approaches inches from the cup at the sixth and eighth for tap-in birdies and made the turn level with Kokrak for the lead.

Kokrak sank a 13-foot birdie putt at the par-5 11th and rolled in a 17-footer for birdie at a two-stroke edge at the par-3 13th. When both made bogey at the 15th, Kokrak’s edge remained two strokes.

Source: CNA

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