Golf: After 233 tries, American Jason Kokrak claims first-ever PGA Tour win at CJ Cup

Golf: After 233 tries, American Jason Kokrak claims first-ever PGA Tour win at CJ Cup

LAS VEGAS (REUTERS) – American Jason Kokrak fired off eight birdies in a flawless final round for his first-ever PGA Tour victory at the CJ Cup in Las Vegas, Nevada on Sunday (Oct 18), clinching his maiden title on the 233rd try.

The 35-year-old outclassed a crowded field of elite performers, carding an eight-under 64 at the Shadow Creek Golf Course, draining a 20-foot putt on the 10th, one of 11 putts he made from further than 10 feet away through 72 holes. He finished on 20-under 268.

“With the greens being firm, fast and quite a bit of break around these holes, if you don’t have the right speed, you’re not going to make a lot of putts,” said Kokrak, who had four consecutive birdies on the front nine and credited his caddie with helping pick “great reads”.

“Game plan was simple, to hit fairways. I made some nice putts on the front nine and a couple par saves here and there, but I couldn’t be happier.”

The tournament, typically part of the PGA Tour’s Asian swing, was moved to the Las Vegas venue due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and featured a crowded field of top talent warming up for the Masters next month, including four-time PGA Tour winner Xander Schauffele, who finished second, two shots behind Kokrak.

Schauffele carded a near-flawless 66 with a single bogey on the 16th, but it was not enough to overcome a disappointing two-over third-round performance, “a rookie move” that lost him the lead.

“For me personally, just to know that my really good golf is that good, it will get me a three-, four-shot lead out here, it’s nice to know that I do have it in me to do it,” said the 26-year-old American.

“Hopefully I learn next time and I can create an opportunity.”

Elsewhere in the field, 29-year-old Briton Tyrrell Hatton (65) and three-time PGA Tour winner Russell Henley (70) finished tied at third on 17 under.