Kokrak rallies with four straight birdies to win Houston Open

By Sports Desk November 14, 2021

Jason Kokrak rallied with four consecutive birdies as a stellar back nine helped the American claim the Houston Open.

Kokrak carded a five-under-par 65 for an impressive two-shot victory and his third PGA Tour trophy at Memorial Park on Sunday.

The 36-year-old was two strokes behind with six holes to play before birdieing the 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th to trump countrymen Kevin Tway (68) and overnight leader Scottie Scheffler (69) to glory.

"Very blessed to be standing here," Kokrak said afterwards in Houston, where he found himself 10 shots adrift after two rounds.

Kokrak, who went 232 starts before his first PGA Tour victory, has now won three titles in his last 27 starts, dating back to October's CJ Cup.

"This win is very special. I was really struggling with my game at the beginning of this week," Kokrak added.

"But I was on the phone with my swing coach and worked on a few things and that worked really well. So, I have to thank him and my caddie, it was really tough at times out there."

Tway and Scheffler finished tied for second, while Kramer Hickok shot a final-round 69 to be outright fourth at seven under as Joel Dahmen (65) and Martin Trainer (70) ended the tournament a shot further back.

At the other end of the spectrum, former world number ones Adam Scott (73) and Jason Day (70) closed out the event at five over, two strokes better off than 2018 Masters champion Patrick Reed (77).

Related items

  • US PGA Championship: What a difference a year makes, with Mickelson opting out of title defence US PGA Championship: What a difference a year makes, with Mickelson opting out of title defence
  • US PGA Championship: Rahm believes Alcaraz has 'big shoes to fill', cannot be unhappy with Mickelson US PGA Championship: Rahm believes Alcaraz has 'big shoes to fill', cannot be unhappy with Mickelson

    Golf's world number two, Jon Rahm, believes teenage compatriot Carlos Alcaraz can benefit from having Rafael Nadal around as his burgeoning tennis career progresses.

    Nineteen-year-old Spaniard Alcaraz became the first tennis player to beat both Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the same tournament on clay, on his way to becoming the youngest ever winner at the Madrid Open earlier in May.

    Alcaraz has won three of the past four tournaments he has entered, including the Miami Open, moving to number six in the ATP world rankings and emerging as a serious challenger for the French Open, which starts on Sunday.

    When asked about Alcaraz's rapid ascent, Rahm said Alcaraz can still learn a lot from 21-time grand slam winner Nadal.

    "I thought you were talking about a golfer. I was just confused," Rahm joked, speaking ahead of this week's US PGA Championship. "I've heard about what he's done, and I've seen the results. Pretty impressive, especially in the world of tennis.

    "He's got some big shoes to fill, because historically Spain has had great tennis players, and obviously with Rafa out there it can be probably daunting yet really exciting too for somebody like him.

    "You have a great reference who's done it right in front of you, so I'm sure he can pick his brain and learn. He's got a great start. Hopefully he can keep it going and be a great champion like many others have been."

    Following a tie for 27th at the Masters, Rahm returned to action earlier in May, winning the Mexico Open.

    The lingering dynamic this weekend at Southern Hills will be the fact Phil Mickelson will not be there to defend his title, following his controversial remarks about the Saudi-backed breakaway golf tour.

    Rahm and Mickelson share the same alma mater and agency, and the former continued to defend the six-time major winner.

    "Phil has got to do what Phil has got to do," Rahm said. "He's a good friend of mine. I can't remember the last time a major champion didn't defend a title.

    "But he's got to do what's best for him. That's all I can say. I can't say it makes me unhappy. As long as he's doing what is best for him, I can't truly say I'm unhappy.

    "I would have liked to see him defend. I know he's played good here in the past. But again, he's got to do what he's got to do."

  • US PGA Championship: 'It's a little bit different' – Scheffler adjusts to life after Masters win US PGA Championship: 'It's a little bit different' – Scheffler adjusts to life after Masters win
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.