2010 eGolf Tour Leading Money Winner Jason Kokrak Notches T2 Finish at PGA TOUR’s Frys.com Open
By Stewart Moore
San Martin, CA – At the PGA TOUR’s Frys.com Open, former eGolf Tour leading money winner Jason Kokrak of Warren, OH came close to winning his first title in this, his rookie season on TOUR. Rounds of 68-66-67-68—269 left the former Xavier University star one shot shy of winner Jonas Blixt, but nevertheless moved him inside the vaunted top 125 on the PGA TOUR money list, one step closer to securing his 2013 TOUR card.
Kokrak’s tenure on the eGolf Tour was well documented, with four wins combined between 2010 and 2011, and over $115,000 in earnings in 2010 to secure the tour’s money title. During his magical run that season, Kokrak earned eight top-10 finishes in just 11 starts, with wins at the Cabarrus Classic in March and the Bushnell Championship in June.
Later that year, the long-hitting Kokrak earned conditional Web.com Tour status via a T127 finish at PGA TOUR Q-School. The low status number left Kokrak on the outside looking in for early-season starts, and left him with a handful of appearances on the eGolf Tour until his number improved.
In just three starts on the eGolf Tour in 2011, Kokrak earned a staggering $85,460 through wins at The Championship at St. James Plantation and the Donald Ross Championship, as well as a runner-up effort at the River Hills Classic. His torrid two-year stretch resulted in over $200,000 in eGolf Tour earnings in just 14 starts.
When Kokrak finally got his shot on the 2011 Web.com Tour, he took full advantage, posting T9 and T4 finishes at the Utah Championship and Midwest Classic, respectively, to improve his number and earn more starts. Once grounded with weekly starts, Kokrak burst onto the national scene with wins at the Albertsons Boise Open and the Miccosukee Championship to fly up the tour’s money list with $338,092 in season-long earnings to finish fourth, in turn securing his PGA TOUR card for this year.
A sluggish start to his rookie season featuring 13 missed cuts in his first 19 starts came crashing down on Sunday, as Kokrak threatened to win his first PGA TOUR title at the Frys.com Open.
Opening rounds of 68-66-67—201 placed the current Charlotte, NC resident in a tie for third at 12-under entering the final round, trailing 54-hole leaders Blixt and John Mallinger by just one shot.
Final-round birdies at Nos. 6 and 12 took Kokrak to 14-under for the week, at the time just two shots off the lead. A late bogey at the par-4 14th dropped him to 1-under for the day, and seemingly out of the title race at the time, with just four holes to play on the scenic CordeValle Golf Club course.
At the drive-able par-4 17th, Kokrak – owner of some prodigious length off the tee – hit a 3-wood from 285 yards to approximately 15 feet, and converted the eagle putt to vault up to 15-under par, at the time tied for the lead with Blixt.
At the par-4 finishing hole, Kokrak needed a birdie to catch Blixt, who had birdied the 17th one group behind to reach 16-under par. When Kokrak pared the last, he was left with a final-round 68 and a 15-under 269 total that placed him tied in the clubhouse with Tim Petrovic.
Needing a Blixt bogey at No. 18 to have a shot at a three-man playoff, Kokrak watched as the fellow rookie converted a clutch 4-foot par putt to seal the win. The closing par gave Blixt his first PGA TOUR title, and left Kokrak in a tie for second on the week.
All was not lost, however, as the $440,000 payday moved Kokrak all the way up to No. 117 on the PGA TOUR money list, inside the 125 number that can secure his card for next year.
“Hopefully this gets me a little bit closer to that 125 number,” said Kokrak. “We have two more events. You never know. Jonas came in third last week. Maybe I'll go out there and win next week.”
The icing on Kokrak’s Sunday cake was that he got to make his final-round charge playing alongside three-time major championship winner Vijay Singh, who had nothing but high praise for the first-year player.
“I played with Vijay once earlier this year. I think it was my first Sunday ever in a PGA TOUR event, and I really stood up and played some good golf,” said Kokrak, referencing the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. “I hit good quality golf shots (today). I got my first top 10, which put me in position for the rest of the year. It's just nice to play well this week. It gives me confidence going into the rest of the year.”
Mallinger, who finished runner-up to Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey at the eGolf Tour’s 2006 River Run Classic, wound up finishing T4 on the week with a final-round 72. After posting five bogeys on his opening nine, Mallinger righted the ship somewhat on the back nine with three birdies for a 2-under 34.
The fourth-place effort was Mallinger’s second of the year (Reno-Tahoe Open), and his third top-5 finish dating back to a career-best T2 result at the Humana Challenge in January. All told, the former Long Beach State standout has seven top-25 finishes in 2012, with $1,146,852 in earnings to sit at No. 78 on the PGA TOUR money list.
PGA TOUR rookie Russell Knox, winner of the eGolf Tour’s 2010 Palmetto Hall Championship, posted rounds of 70-68-65-69—272 on his way to a T9 finish at CordeValle. The finish marked Knox’s first career top-10 on TOUR, and was just his third top-25 of the year. After missing 11 of 15 cuts to start his 2012 campaign, the native of Scotland has now made six consecutive cuts dating back to a T21 effort at the True South Classic in July.
Knox starred on the Web.com Tour in 2011, collecting a win and a runner-up on his way to a 12th-place finish on the season-ending money list, which in turn netted the former Jacksonville University golfer his 2012 PGA TOUR card.
At the Palmetto Hall event, Knox broke through for his first eGolf Tour win in his first career start with rounds of 73-68-69-70—280 and a three-shot win over Matt Cannon and David Sanchez. The winner’s check of $34,306 was the largest of his career at the time, later surpassed by a T2 finish at the Web.com Tour’s Fresh Express Classic in 2011.
Other eGolf Tour players to make the cut at CordeValle include Martin Flores (T11), David Mathis (T22), Garth Mulroy (T29), Billy Horschel (T29), Mark Anderson (T47), Scott Brown (T47), Will Claxton (T55) and Stephen Gangluff (T64). For complete results from the Frys.com Open on PGATOUR.com, please click here.
• At the Web.com Tour’s Miccosukee Championship, 2012 eGolf Tour player Kevin Tway – son of major championship winner Bob Tway – posted rounds of 67-75-67-71—280 en route to a career-best T5 finish in just his fourth career start on the PGA TORU’s developmental circuit. Tway’s best finish on the eGolf Tour this season was a T46 at the HGM Hotels Classic at Rock Barn. Morgan Hoffmann, a 2012 eGolf Tour member and Tway’s former Oklahoma State teammate, continued his stellar stretch on the Web.com Tour with rounds of 66-72-73-71—282 and a T9 finish – his fourth consecutive top-10 and sixth of the year, a stretch which included a playoff loss at the Chiquita Classic. The finish pushed Hoffmann from No. 34 to No. 31 on the tour’s money list with $145,820 in earnings – just six spots outside the top 25, which is the number needed to secure a 2013 PGA TOUR card. The story of last week’s Neediest Kids Championship was longtime eGolf Tour player Josh Persons, who held the 54-hole lead at the suburban Washington D.C. event before notching a T8 finish on the week. The top-25 provided him a spot at Miccosukee, where he again played well with rounds of 75-68-70-70—283 and a T13 finish. The second straight top-25 gave Persons a start in this week’s Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open. Prior to Monday qualifying for the Neediest Kids Championship, the Fargo, ND native and former University of Minnesota standout posted a career-best third-place finish at the eGolf Tour’s Olde Sycamore Open, thanks in part to a final-round 63. Other eGolf Tour players to make the cut at Miccosukee Golf & Country Club include Steve LeBrun (5), Jamie Lovemark (T7), Aron Price (T9), Travis Hampshire (T9), Doug Barron (T13), Scott Parel (T21), Scott Harrington (T26), Will MacKenzie (T29), Bubba Dickerson (T29), Nick Flanagan (T39), Luke List (T43), Wes Roach (T45), James Love (T45), Richard Scott (T45), James Sacheck (55), Fabian Gomez (T57) and Jason Schultz (T59). For complete results from the Miccosukee Championship on PGATOUR.com, please click here.