JFK’s Kokrak completes best finish on Tour
He threatens as fellow PGA rookie, Jonas Blixt, wins
SAN MARTIN, CALIF.
Likely needing to finish in the top-five to secure his PGA Tour Card for 2013, Jason Kokrak came through in the clutch.
Kokrak, a Warren JFK graduate tied for second with Tim Petrovic at the Frys.com Open. On Sunday, Petrovic had a 64, and Kokrak shot a 68.
“It’s just nice to play well this week,” Kokrak said. “It gives me confidence going into the rest of the year.”
Kokrak eagled the 17th hole and closed with a par. He earned $440,000 to jump from 167th to 117th on the money list. The final top 125 will earn full 2013 cards.
Petrovic also made $440,000 to go from 200th to 132nd.
Sweden’s Jonas Blixt won the tournament for his first PGA Tour title, holing a 4-foot par putt on the final hole for a one-stroke victory at CordeValle.
Blixt became third PGA Tour rookie to win this season, closing with a 3-under 68 for a 16-under 268 total. He earned $900,000 in the Fall Series event and a tour exemption through the 2014 season.
“The weird part is I’ve been working on some stuff with my swing, and I wasn’t feeling completely 100 percent about my swing,” Blixt said. “I just told myself, ‘Just give it a good hit every time and see what happens. Just focus. You can’t do anything better than your best.’ That’s what I did on every shot.”
Third-round leader John Mallinger had a 72 to tie for fourth at 14 under with Jimmy Walker, Vijay Singh and Alexandre Rocha. Walker closed with a 62, and Singh and Rocha shot 68.
Blixt made a 9-foot birdie putt on the par-5 15th for a share of the lead, and holed a 71/2-footer on the short par-4 17th to pull ahead. He set up the birdie on 17 with an approach shot from the rough.
“It was a bad lie, but the ball came out well,” Blixt said.
Two strokes behind Mallinger entering the round, Blixt birdied the first two holes, but gave back the strokes with bogeys on the next two. The 28-year-old former Florida State player made a birdie on the par-4 sixth, then had eight straight pars before the birdie on 15.
Blixt was making his 19th PGA Tour start. He finished third last week in Las Vegas.
“You learn something every time,” Blixt said. “Last week I didn’t play very well in the final round. I got a little too cute with some shots and wasn’t aggressive enough.”
The only other rookie winners this year are John Huh in the Mayakoba Golf Classic in February and Ted Potter Jr. in The Greenbrier Classic in July.
“First of all, my family is here, so it’s been really relaxed,” Blixt said. “I’ve barely touched a golf club after a round, which is really weird for me. A lot of people would say that’s really weird.”
Petrovic eagled the par-5 ninth hole, hitting a 2-iron to 21/2 feet to take the lead.