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Kokrak stays in the hunt at Humana



Published: Sat, January 19, 2013 @ 12:05 a.m.

His second-round 69 left him two strokes off the lead at La Quinta

Associated Press

la quinta, calif.

Warren’s Jason Kokrak couldn’t match his first-round pace on Friday at La Quinta Country Club, but he’s very much in the mix for his first PGA win.

Kokrak shot a 3-under 69 on the Nicklaus Course to move to 12-under for the tournament — two strokes behind James Hahn and Roberto Castro at the Humana Challenge. He’s tied for sixth overall.

Hahn jumped all over his drive on the par-5 fifth hole, then hit his second shot so pure that it went a little father than he wanted.

Undaunted, he turned to his trusty 54-degree wedge and holed a 30-foot, bump-and-run chip for eagle, part of a late birdie-eagle-birdie run that gave him a share of the lead.

“It was a long-drive stat hole, so I kind of came out of my shoes a little bit,” Hahn said about his 310-yard poke on the tree-lined hole.

That left him 220 yards, and he figured a smooth 3-iron was his best play

“I didn’t want to really overpower a 4-iron,” Hahn said. “I had a lot of adrenaline.”

He made perfect contact.

“Just hit it too good,” Hahn said. “Hit the center of the green, landed it 220, rolled to the back. ... I could have hit it with a 6-iron and probably hit it within 2 feet.”

It didn’t matter when the chip rolled in.

“I read the break perfectly, broke about 2 feet straight down the hill,” Hahn said.

Hahn finished with a 5-under 67 to match Roberto Castro at 14 under after another day of perfect conditions in the Coachella Valley. Castro shot a 67 on PGA West’s Arnold Palmer Private Course after they began the round tied for the lead with Kokrak at 63.

Hahn followed the eagle with a birdie on the par-5 sixth.

“Any time you have back-to-back par 5s that are reachable, it’s definitely something to look forward to,” Hahn said. “Especially if the round’s not going well.”

Castro had the lead alone at 16 under, but bogeyed two of his last three holes — three-putting the par-4 ninth.

“A couple slipped away there at the end, but yesterday I made a 50-footer on the last,” Castro said. “Today, I felt like I hit a good putt and three-putted. So, that’s stuff over 72 holes that’s going to even out.”

Hahn opened his rookie season on the tour last week in Hawaii with a tie for 67th in the Sony Open. The 31-year-old South Korean-born American played briefly at the University of California — “Let’s just say extracurricular activities got in the way.” — and won a Web.com Tour event last year.

“I’m just soaking it in, having a good time,” Hahn said. “Any time that I play a good round, it feels good and makes me cherish the momentum a little bit more, because I know they’re few and far between.”

Castro is in his second season on the tour. The 27-year-old former Georgia Tech player missed the cut last week in Hawaii in his first start of the year.

“I learned a lot last year,” Castro said. “One of the best things that happened to me was making a lot of the cuts early in the year. I didn’t have any big finishes, but I got to play four days and I got to learn pretty quickly. I got to play with some good players and watch what they do.”

Darron Stiles, Scott Stallings and Richard H. Lee were 13 under, all shooting 65. Stiles and Stallings played at La Quinta, and Lee was on the Palmer course.


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