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Kokrak Stays Relaxed At Colonial; Notches Second PGA Tour Victory

Kokrak Stays Relaxed At Colonial; Notches Second PGA Tour Victory

The more relaxed you are, the better you are at everything.

A go-to saying for Bill Murray—one his lifestyle brand made their catchphrase and tagline; but putting it into action with everything on the line?

PGA Tour journeyman and William Murray brand ambassador Jason Kokrak woke up Sunday morning in Ft. Worth, Texas—one stroke off the lead and paired with Jordan Spieth, in the final round of the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial.

Dallas-native Spieth took the event in 2016—his eighth career victory at the time, including two majors.

Four more victories since then—including a US Open—and just under two months removed from his victory at this year's Valero Texas Open. By all accounts, Spieth had shaken off his slump—the win in San Antonio almost four years after his run at Royal Birkdale.

A home-cooked takedown looked to be another step in the 27-year old's comeback—especially on paper when paired with a 36-year old Ohio native whose first victory came last fall.

The beauty of upsets lies in the fact the experts can't properly gauge an underdog's heart, desire or the nothing-to-lose intangible that ultimately fuels these great sports moments.

The golf world had every reason to believe Spieth would prevail—his resume undeniable; having been in many a final pairing and prevailing on a Sunday.

Instead, it was Kokrak desire and steady hand that proved to be the difference down the stretch—getting into that zone, months removed from his inauguration win at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas last fall.

Ten years and 233 events to notch victory number one—but only 16 more tries before a second win was in the books. In-between the two, three Top 10 finishes and 13 made cuts in a row; his last miss coming late November 2020.

Slow starts plagued both competitors Sunday afternoon, on the front nine at Colonial—Kokrak two-back after a bogey on one, but back to T1 after bogeys on holes two and three by Spieth.

Both would also bogey the par-3 fourth—dropping to -12 on the event—before Kokrak birdied three of the next four holes and Spieth two of the next five.

14-under at the turn, birdies on #11 and #13 pushed the Kokrak lead to two—narrowing back to one after back-to-back bogeys on #15 and #16; the damage not as bad as it could've been with Spieth bogeying #15, as well.

A clutch seven-foot par putt on #17 for Kokrak, as well as a six-footer for Spieth—after both golfers found the rough—set up a must-birdie opportunity for Spieth to force a playoff, while Kokrak simply had to play it smart and get out with the win.

While Spieth's second shot found the water, Kokrak found the green—setting up a 51-foot birdie putt, which came up short but left him a four-footer for par and the two-stroke victory.

The victory saw Kokrak moving from 27th in the FedExCup standings, to 5th this week—as well as an Official World Golf Ranking of 22nd—the feat also putting him in rarified air as one of three two-time winners this season, joining Bryson DeChambeau and Stewart Cink

A recharging of the batteries back home this week, before trekking west for the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines—Kokrak with a T29 finish in La Jolla, California in January for the Farmers Insurance Open. 

With two months remaining before the Playoffs get underway mid-August—the perfect opportunity for Kokrak to reflect on what's been accomplished, while keeping his eye on the prize; two majors, one final WGC event and a small field at the Tour Championship—where getting hot at the right time could result in a lucrative payday and huge career step forward.

As far as the takeaway for fans of the game, the player and this brand—a reminder to dream big, to put in the work and to never limit ourselves.

Many of us at William Murray have gotten to know both Jason and Pat Perez over the years—watching that daily grind up close and personal.

Weeks where it all comes together are magical, but there's also a lot of mundane and Murray-like Groundhog Day moments—airports, hotels, range time, practice rounds, pro-ams and long Friday afternoons chasing a cut and a weekend check. 

Ten years on the road and 233 events between 25 and 35 years old—it can put some miles on the odometer—and those weekends watching the field from a hotel room, or traveling on to the next town while others are playing an earning; there are moments where you question everything. 

All that to say, when your day finally comes, like it did for Perez (post-injury and twice since joining the William Murray family) and now twice for Kokrak, in a 16-event span—it's a hard reset, renewal and rebirth—stoking the competitive flame, while rewarding everything it took to build towards that moment.

Lots of big golf ahead, but after a week like we just lived vicariously through in Ft. Worth—a little down time, a good bourbon and reflection are the perfect calm before next week's major storm.


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