|Birthday:||May 22, 1985|
Jason Kokrak was raised in Warren and played high school golf at JFK High School in Warren where he twice led his team to the Ohio Boy's state championship as Division III medalist. He went on to play college golf at Xavier University in Cincinnati and graduated in 2007. During his college career, he won both the 2006 and 2007 Ohio Amateur titles. Kokrak turned professional after graduation.
During the 2007 U.S. Amateur, Kokrak led all players with a score of 137 during the 36 hole match play qualifier at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. That same year, he made an appearance in the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club, when he successfully came through sectional and regional qualifying.
In 2011, he exploded onto the pro golf scene over the second half of the Nationwide Tour season — winning two events and nearly capturing the season-ending Tour Championship. It allowed him to finish 4th on the Nationwide money list, which earned him 2012 PGA Tour membership.
Long after the fog cleared at TPC San Antonio, Phil Mickelson remained shrouded in an increasingly alarming funk with the Masters two weeks away.
Mickelson shot a 5-over 77 on Thursday in the Texas Open to fall nine strokes back during the suspended first round. The 77 was Lefty’s highest score since a 78 in August in the PGA Championship.
“I had been playing real well at home, so to come out and play like this is disappointing,” Mickelson said. “Just didn’t feel quite sharp.”
In his previous two starts, Mickelson missed the cut in the Honda Classic and tied for 16th three weeks ago at Doral in the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship. He made his only other Texas Open appearance in 1992, so long ago that the event was only his 11th professional start on the PGA Tour.
Pat Perez and Danny Lee shot 4-under 68 to share the clubhouse lead and Andrew Loupe was 4 under with seven holes to play when darkness forced the suspension of play. The start was delayed 2 hours, 40 minutes because of fog, and 45 players were unable to finish the round.
Area resident Cameron Beckman, Puerto Rico Open winner Chesson Hadley, Will McKenzie and Seung-Yul Noh shot 69, and Miguel Angel Carballo and Justin Hicks also were 3 under. Carballo had four left, and Hicks three.
Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar shot 70.
Warren JFK graduate Jason Kokrak, fresh off a fourth-place finish in the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week, shot a first-round 71.
Defending champion Martin Laird opened with a 72, matching Valspar winner John Senden and Jeff Maggert, a winner last week in Mississippi in his Champions Tour debut.
Ernie Els shot 74, and former Texas star Jordan Spieth had a 75.
Mickelson hit half of the greens in regulation on the Greg Norman-designed T&T Oaks Course, bogeyed three of the four par 3s and closed with a double bogey on the par-4 ninth.
“I didn’t putt well,” said Mickelson, who had 17 putts on the second nine that he played in 4-over 40. “I had a couple of three-putts that hurt. Iron play wasn’t great. I didn’t drive it bad, until that last hole.”
On the 462-yard ninth, his drive sailed so far right he hit a provisional. He didn’t need it, but it took him three to find the green and he ended up three-putting, missing from 10 and 2 feet.
“Just blocked it,” he said.
He also will play next week in the Houston Open before heading to Augusta National.
The fog kept temperatures in the 50s before it burned off and gave way to sun and readings in the 80s.
“This morning it was freezing, and I hit balls (on the practice range) in four layers of clothes,” Perez said. “Now, I’m sweating.”