January 17 2013
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Jason Kokrak hasn't met a par 5 he didn't like. Not when he's averaging well over 300 yards off the tee and can overpower even the longest of the long.
Kokrak, who clocked in at 309 yards off the tee last week in Hawaii, doesn't think there's a par 5 on any of the three courses in the rotation at the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation that he can't reach -- unless, of course, the wind is up. Not that it's always in his best interest to go for it in two, of course.
The 569-yard 14th on the Palmer Course, for example, brings a little too much risk into the equation.
"It's really not worth it to go for it," Kokrak said. "But I had about 260 to the middle of the green in the practice round, so I could have gone for it, but it was really not worth it for that green. You miss it left, you're in the water. You miss it right, you're in the rocks. So put yourself in a good position with a wedge and try to make birdie the old-fashioned way."
Kokrak made two eagles and five birdies at La Quinta on Thursday on the way to a 63 that left him tied for the lead with Robert Castro and James Hahn. Big hiters haven't always prospered in the Humana Challenge but Kokrak has learned a more cerebral approach can be as useful as his power.
"I think that it's just more of a game plan for each individual course," Kokrak said. "I don't think it's a bomber's golf course by any means. You got to hit fairways, but a lot of the holes that are right around 400 yards I can just put a 3-iron out in the fairway, 250 260 out there and it leaves me a wedge at most, a 9-iron into the green.
"So you can still be aggressive with those clubs. So take advantage of the par 5s if you can and put yourself in good positions on the par 4s and make pars on the par 3s and you're going to have a good round."