Golf Asia

Charles Schwab Challenge

Underdog Kokrak Pips Spieth To Colonial Crown


Jason Kokrak held off home-region hero Jordan Spieth down the final holes to win the 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.

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 at the recent 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 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 when spectators were not allowed.

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, an advantage he carried 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 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 himself ahead by one.

From 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. Kokrak seized the moment by putting his approach safely onto the green 50 feet from the cup. Spieth made bogey and Kokrak two-putted for the victory.

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