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Jason Kokrak crashes Jordan Spieth’s party in Texas

Jason Kokrak wins 2021 Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial
Jason Kokrak receives congratulations from local favorite Jordan Spieth as Kokrak wins the PGA Tour's Charles Schwab Challenge on Sunday at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.

Kokrak knocks off Spieth, a lifelong Dallas resident, to win at Colonial in Fort Worth for Ohioan’s 2nd title of PGA Tour season

Jason Kokrak came to the final round of the PGA Tour’s Charles Schwab Challenge intending to spoil the Jordan Spieth homecoming party.

He did it.

Kokrak, paired with local favorite Spieth in the final round at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, erased a one-stroke deficit after 54 holes to win his second victory of the season. Conceding that he and Spieth “didn’t have our ‘A’ games,” Kokrak  shot even-par 70 – his worst round of the week by four strokes – to hold off a struggling Spieth, who closed with 73. Kokrak finished at 14-under 266, two strokes ahead of Spieth, a lifelong resident of nearby Dallas and the 2016 Colonial champion.

“They were definitely rooting for the guy next to me,” said Kokrak, 36, a native Canadian who grew up in Ohio and played college golf at Xavier in Cincinnati. “We kind of had a little bit of an ebb and flow.”

Kokrak bogeyed two of his first four holes, but he actually made up ground on Spieth, who made bogeys on Nos. 2-4. They made the turn even in what essentially was a match-play final.

“You can't get ahead of yourself in this game,” Kokrak said. “This game doesn't owe you anything, and you know, you take each shot for what it is, whether you make a bogey or a par or a birdie. Each hole is an individual match against yourself, and Jordan was there the whole day. He was up a couple, down a couple, and I made my mistakes. He made his mistakes. I tried to stay patient. I made a couple nice birdies and a couple nice putts on the front to get back to even.”

Kokrak holed a 13-foot birdie putt on the par-4 11th and added a 17-foot birdie at the par-3 13th as Spieth fell two strokes behind. Both made a pair of bogeys on two of the four closing holes. Kokrak won the CJ Cup in October at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, and he ran off three consecutive top-10 results on the Florida Swing: T-9 at WGC Workday, T-8 at Arnold Palmer Invitational and T-9 at Players. But he has finished better than 40th in only one of his past four starts, a T-13 at Valspar. Yet, after having needed 233 starts to secure his first career victory, Kokrak now has won twice in his past 16 tournaments on the PGA Tour.

It was the third runner-up finish at Colonial for Spieth.

“I didn't play well at all, quite simply,” said Spieth, who nonetheless posted his fifth top-10 result in his past six starts, highlighted by a victory eight weeks ago at the Valero Texas Open. “I could have shot even par today and won the golf tournament, but from the very get-go, just a really bad start, and then tried to fight my way through it. But I was just really off with my golf swing. I really lost it this weekend. You just have to be in control around Colonial.”

England’s Ian Poulter, who was paired with another of Europe’s Ryder Cup titans in Spain’s Sergio Garcia, shot 68 to move up to T-3 with Americans Charley Hoffman and Patton Kizzire and Colombia’s Sebastian Munoz. Poulter holed birdie putts of 31 and 29 feet on the last two holes. Garcia, who won at Colonial in 2001 for his first victory on the PGA Tour, faded with a final-round 76 to T-20.

American Erik Compton, a two-time heart-transplant recipient who was making only his fourth PGA Tour start since 2016, shot 73 to join Garcia at T-20. Compton, 37, who spent five seasons on the PGA Tour in the past decade, primarily plays the Korn Ferry Tour.

 (For scores, click here.)

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