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By : BGA Proshop
Jason Kokrak breaks through for his first maiden PGA Tour win at the Shadow Creek taking out the CJ Cup in a battle with runner up Xander Schauffele.
With a final round 64, Kokrak was paired with Schauffele as the pair duelled it out through the final day.
Kokrak birdied the 2nd but then reeled off 4 in a row starting on the 5th hole. He was out in 31 and Schauffele was on his heels going out in a 32.
On the back nine Kokrak started with birdie, birdie while Schauffele made 3 in a row from the 11th hole. They were both tied for the lead with 3 holes to play but unfortunately Schauffele made bogey on the 16th and eventually Kokrak birdied the 18th to seal victory.
“Being 10 years, I definitely had some scar tissue … If you're not nervous, you're not alive ... I definitely had some nerves going … but I think I knew in my own mind that I was going to get it done, it was just a matter of time of me getting out of my own way and letting it happen,” Kokrak said.
“Because my game is right there with the best players in the world and I just need to continue to believe so and if the putting's there for me, we're going to be right there in contention.”
“I have played quite a few rounds here at Shadow Creek so I know the greens pretty well, I know the little intricacies of this place. Not like some of the local caddies, but it is definitely a place that I feel comfortable at,” he said.
After the round, Schauffele had nothing but praise for his opponent.
“Him and his caddie have a really good relationship, they work really well,” Schauffele said of Kokrak. “He just — he beats the crap out of it. Like I said, he’s a foot taller than I am, swings it Ernie Els smooth-type swing. I couldn’t be happier for him. I think what proved was he finally started rolling in some putts and it kind of shows how dangerous he can be out here.”
For 35-year-old Kokrak, the win must have been emotional; it’s his first in nine years and 232 starts on Tour. Still, he made it all sound rather matter-of-fact afterwards.
“The game plan was simple: to hit fairways,” he said after the round. He did that, and claimed his caddie took care of the rest, guiding him around Shadow Creek’s slippery greens.
Whatever the formula, it added up to an 8-under 64 and a career-changing win in Las Vegas. “Very pleased with the win,” he said, typically understated. “And hopefully more to come.”