Kokrak seizes five-shot lead, John­son lurk­ing

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Amer­i­can Ja­son Kokrak fired a flaw­less eight-un­der-par 62 to seize a com­mand­ing five­stroke lead midway through the AT&T By­ron Nel­son in Irv­ing, Texas on Fri­day.

The 31-year-old Kokrak, who missed the cut at last week’s Play­ers Cham­pi­onship, equalled the 36-hole tour­na­ment record at 12-un­der par and put him­self in po­si­tion for his first PGA Tour with four birdies on each nine in fol­low­ing up his open­ing 66.

The stocky Kokrak may need the added cush­ion as the chasing pack in­cludes world num­ber one Dustin John­son, who shot his sec­ond 67 to be six-un­der on 134.

“All week I’ve been feel­ing bet­ter and bet­ter with the put­ter,” said Kokrak. “Dave Stock­ton, Jr. and his dad have helped me out the last few weeks and things are start­ing to kind of go in an up­turn.” Billy Horschel, the 2014 FedExCup cham­pion, was alone in sec­ond on seven-un­der 133 af­ter a 65, with John­son joined at 134 by South Korean An Byeong-hun (66), Jhonat­tan Ve­gas of Venezuela (68) and Amer­i­cans Cameron Tringale (68), Bud Cauley (67) and James Hahn (70). John­son, who won three tour­na­ments in a row be­fore with­draw­ing from last month’s Mas­ters af­ter in­jur­ing his back in a fall be­fore the open­ing round, said he is still work­ing on re­gain­ing top form.

“Played a solid round,” said John­son, who gave a shot back with a bo­gey at his last hole. “I made a lot of good shots and rolled the put­ter pretty nicely.”

John­son said the back was no longer a con- cern. “There’s no is­sues there,” he said. “Just need to keep prac­tic­ing to get back. I had to take al­most four weeks off, re­ally didn’t prac­tice. It takes a lit­tle time to get back in the form I was in lead­ing into the Mas­ters. It’s get­ting there.”

The cut was set at two over par, with 76 play­ers advancing to week­end play. One no­table ab­sen­tee will be lo­cal favourite Jor­dan Spi­eth, who shot 75 for three-over 143, miss­ing his sec­ond suc­ces­sive cut.

“Just dis­ap­pointed,” said Spi­eth. “I’ve got to fig­ure out what I’m do­ing on the greens, first and fore­most. I’ve got to get back into rhythm there. Short game is just off (but) it’s close.”

The world num­ber six will be de­fend­ing his ti­tle at Colo­nial next week. —Reuters

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