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Kokrak win shows that persistence, hard work pay off

How exciting it is for the Mahoning Valley to be able to call one of our own a PGA champion.

We couldn’t be prouder of Warren John F. Kennedy High School graduate Jason Kokrak, who earlier this week claimed the CJ Cup title at Shadow Creek Golf Course in North Las Vegas. In doing so, Kokrak, 35, matched the best round of the tournament with an 8-under 64. He had overcome a three-shot deficit and outdueled golfer Xander Schauffele.

It was Kokrak’s 10th season and his 233rd tournament, but his hard work and persistence finally paid off. His excitement was apparent by his huge grin as he hoisted the championship trophy, depicted on our front page Monday.

Kokrak’s amazing final round included four straight birdies on the front nine and birdie putts from 20 feet and 18 feet to start the back nine that stretched his lead to two shots.

The excitement mounted as Schauffele answered with three straight birdies, the last one a 45-footer to catch him. Then, it was a matter of who blinked first — which turned out to be Schauffele.

Kokrak already had qualified for this year’s Masters tournament, but this week’s win qualifies him for the 2021 tournament as well.

Congratulations to Jason Kokrak. The persistence of this man who spent many years growing up in the Warren area should serve as an example for all young people from the Valley. Good things don’t usually come easily, but with hard work and dedication, anything is possible.

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