Kokrak chasing first PGA Tour victory

SEE ALSO: Inside the ropes with Jason Kokrak

Staff and wire reports


Jason Kokrak’s first PGA Tour victory is there for the taking.

Kokrak, the Warren JFK graduate and former Xavier University star surged into contention Saturday during the second and third rounds of the AT&T National, and enters today’s final round one shot behind four co-leaders.

“The goal is to win tomorrow, but you can’t go into the day thinking you need to win or have to win,” said Kokrak, whose second-round 66 was interrupted by storms after 10 holes Friday. “You’ve got to stick to your game plan. If I can give myself as many birdie opportunities as possible with the way the course is playing, I’ll put myself in a good position.”

Kokrak — who shot a 70 in the third round Saturday — is in just such a position now, sitting at 6-under par 207, right behind the co-leading quartet of Roberto Castro, James Driscoll, Bill Haas and Andres Romero at Congressional Country Club.

“I just stayed with it all day,” Kokrak said. “I didn’t get off to a great start, but I was playing well enough at the end to make some putts and stay in contention.

“I didn’t get upset with being 2-over after three holes. It was one of those days where it was up and down. I didn’t do anything great, but did everything just well enough. It’s a strong

leaderboard and it’s a tough golf course. It’s a U.S. Open-style layout so the rough is just so thick.”

Kokrak is confident in his putting as he chases his first victory on the PGA Tour.

“I’m not going to three-putt very often,” he said. “The key on this golf course

is to hit fairways.”

Kokrak is set to tee off at 10:20 a.m. with Romero and Tom Gillis. Golf Channel’s coverage begins at 1 p.m., with CBS taking over at 3 p.m.

Castro went from a share of the lead to five shots behind in three holes. He finished the third round of the AT&T National by hitting a 5-iron left of the 18th green and into the water. And he still managed to be part of a four-way tie for the lead.

“Wild day,” he said.

Not just for Castro. It was like that for just about everyone Saturday.

Bill Haas hit a wedge into the water and made triple bogey on the 11th hole to fall five shots behind. Four holes and three birdies later, he had the outright lead. He was helped by Andres Romero, who squandered a three-shot lead in two holes by hitting his tee shot into a creek.

With all that action, James Driscoll must have felt as if he missed out on all the fun. All he did was post his third straight round in the 60s to join the leaders.

Castro put the perfect finishing touch on a theatrical afternoon by taking his penalty drop from the water on No. 18 and chipping in from 80 feet for par. That enabled him to salvage an even-par 71 and claim a share of the lead with Haasv (68), Driscoll (68) and Romero, who closed with six pars for a 70.

Still in the mix is 19-year-old Jordan Spieth, who had a two-shot lead after opening with a pair of birdies. He also went through a five-hole stretch when he missed five putts inside 8 feet — including a three-putt from 5 feet for double bogey on No. 8. The Texas teen had a 74, though he’s still in the game, just three shots behind.

Charlie Wi had a 29 on the front nine and shot 65 to finish two shots behind, along with Tom Gillis (66). Spieth was in the group at 209 with Brandt Snedeker, who had a 69.

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