By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
SAN MARTIN, Calif. -- Consecutive eagles have Jason Kokrak in the lead at the Frys.com Open. He eagled his final hole of the second round, then opened Saturday's round with an eagle-2 at the par-4 first hole. Kokrak started the day one shot behind leader Brooks Koepka, who made birdie on the first hole to tie Kokrak at 12 under par.
Kokrak closed his second-round 65 with an eagle at the par-5 ninth hole after hitting 6-iron from 214 yards to 9 inches from the hole. He holed out from 130 yards to start Saturday's third round.
Kokrak and Koepka also birdied the second hole to reach 13 under par. Robert Garrigus, who birdied Nos. 1 and 2, is in second place, two shots back.
Kokrak has a good history at the Frys.com Open. He finished second here last year to retain his PGA TOUR card for the 2013 season. It is the best finish of his TOUR career.
By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
SAN MARTIN, Calif. -- Jason Kokrak arrived at last year's Frys.com Open desperately needing a high finish to keep his PGA TOUR card. His second-place showing in his third-to-last event was enough for him to retain his playing privileges. Kokrak is in contention at CordeValle once again. An eagle on his final hole Friday vaulted him into second place, one shot behind leader Brooks Koepka.
Kokrak is at 10-under 132 after rounds of 67-65. He nearly holed out a 6-iron from 214 yards on the par-5 ninth hole, his final hole Friday, and tapped in a 9-inch eagle putt.
"There's some holes that the longer hitters can take advantage of," said Kokrak, who ranked sixth on the PGA TOUR in driving distance (303.2 yards) in 2013. "That helps me. ... I can hit 3-irons off a couple of tees. If you pick and choose where you want to be aggressive, and if you can keep it in play and know where to miss it, you can really get after this course."
Kokrak earned $440,000 for his runner-up here last year. That was more than half his earnings in 2012; he finished 119th on the money list with $750,221.
"It meant everything to me," Kokrak said of last year's runner-up. "I was well outside (the top 125). It gave me enough to keep my card."
He had four top-10s in 2013, including a third-place finish at AT&T National. He finished 62nd in the FedExCup, advancing to the BMW Championship.
Jason Kokrak rebounded from a double bogey on his eighth hole on Friday. (Petersen/Getty Images)
By Melanie Hauser, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
HUMBLE Texas – Jason Kokrak couldn’t resist.
He’d been playing. Everyone else had been Dufnering. So before he met the media Friday afternoon, he plopped down on the riser and posed for a few tweet-able moments.
That done, he was all smiles. He wasn’t sure at the time if he’d be playing with Steve Wheatcroft or D.A. Points. Both are buddies. Either would be a perfect partner for the start of a weekend run.
Especially Wheatcroft. And he got it.
Kokrak and Wheatcroft will be last off Saturday afternoon as the Shell Houston Open rolls into the final 36 holes with Wheatcroft leading at 10 under and Kokrak and Points tied, one shot back.
“I congratulated (Wheatcroft) on getting into the Monday qualifier,’’ Kokrak said. “ Played well yesterday late in the round, so, you know, I'm happy for him. I'm happy he's doing well. Hopefully I can go out there and overtake the lead or -- hopefully I overtake him late Sunday, but hopefully go out there and have a lot of fun.’’
A win would get either one of them into the Masters in a few weeks, but Kokrak said it’s not really on his mind.
“I don't think it's really on my mind too much,’’ said Kokrak, who backed up an opening 66 with a second-round 69. “Been struggling the last couple of weeks, so it hasn't -- I haven't really been thinking about it, but it's one of the bonuses of winning out here.
“But, you know, it might creep into my mind a little bit, but for right now, there's so much golf to be played that I'm going to concentrate on my own game tomorrow.”
Kokrak’s lone hiccup Friday was a double-bogey at the 17th hole.
“Other than that, I started hitting stride on the back,’’ he said. “Hitting solid shots, hitting it in the fairways and hitting really good tee balls. Putting myself in good positions is key for this golf course. There's a lot of water out there, lot of wind. So hitting it solid, there's something to be said about it.’’
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
Save for the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation, it's been a rough year for Jason Kokrak.
In his seven other starts, Kokrak has four missed cuts, a WD and hasn't finished inside the top 70.
"I think I was just putting a lot of pressure on myself, going out there and thinking about the cut line, thinking about different things," he said.
Thursday in Houston, however, the 27-year-old shot a 6-under 66 to sit near the top of the leaderboard.
So what sparked his lowest round since a final-round 65 at PGA West back in January?
For one, Kokrak figured out a couple of weeks ago he was taking the club back shut. For another, he had a comfortable pairing in Brian Harman and David Lingmerth -- two guys he knows well.
"The golf course sets up well for me," Kokrak continued. "It's a long enough golf course, the greens are firm enough where I can take advantage because I'm hitting a lot shorter irons into the holes.
"It's easy for me to spin it and hold it in position where I wanted it to."
And now he's in a better position on the leaderboard, too.