ST. SIMONS ISLAND, GA.
Fresh off his best finish of the season, Warren native Jason Kokrak shot a 2-under 68 at Thursday’s first round of the McGladrey Classic.
Kokrak made five birdies and was at 4-under after 15 holes before double-bogeying the 16th. He’s tied for 44th, six strokes behind co-leaders Bud Cauley and Marco Dawson.
Kokrak tied for second at last weekend’s Frys.com Open, earning $440,000 to jump from 167th to 117th on the money list. The top 125 earn full cards for next year. He will tee off on the 10th tee at 9:05 a.m. today with Alexandre Rocha and Bobby Gates.
The McGladrey Classic is the penultimate PGA Tour event on the schedule that counts toward the money list, and Dawson is at No. 216 with only $62,026 in 20 tournaments. Dawson likely has to win to avoid a return to Q-school. His year has gone so badly that Dawson doesn’t even look at the money list.
“I’m so far away from it that the only thing I can do is just try and play well,” Dawson said. “And when I am playing well, just to keep it going instead of kind of messing it up like I have during the year.”
Cauley, meanwhile, has already made more than $1.7 million this year and has moved up to No. 55 in the world. Now he’s after his first win.
“Obviously, I’ve thought about winning every tournament I’ve teed up in this year,” Cauley said. “It’s been a long year, and although I’ve played a lot this year, I haven’t won. It’s still a goal of mine, but I’m not thinking about that while I’m out there, or putting any more pressure on myself this week. The season is kind of wining down. It would be great to win here.”
Two guys on the bubble — Boo Weekley (No. 121) and Rod Pampling (No. 124) joined Greg Owen at 64. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III, the tournament host, was in a group at 65 that included Sea Island neighbor Zach Johnson, David Toms and Camilo Villegas, who is No. 152 on the money list.
Jim Furyk shot 66 in his first event since the Ryder Cup.
Dawson had a chance to mess up even a great day.
He twice had to take penalty strokes after errant tee shots on his last six holes and wound up losing only one shot. He took his lone bogey on the fourth hole, and then his tee shot on the par-5 seventh hit a tree.