David Kocher takes 36-hole lead at Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper
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Written by Preston Edwards @KornFerryTour
3 Things to Know | Round Two | 2022 Price Cutter Charity Championship
SPRINGFIELD, Missouri – Coming into the day in a three-way tie for the lead, David Kocher carded a 6-under 66 to step ahead of the pack and snag the outright 36-hole lead at the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper. Kocher, who carded a career-low 9-under 63 in the first round, is now 15-under par through two rounds and heads into the weekend with a two-stroke lead over Kevin Roy and Taylor Montgomery.
Kocher, a native of Morristown, New Jersey who now resides in Charlotte, North Carolina, started on the front at Highland Springs Country Club Friday. The 26-year-old got off to another solid start as he parred the first two holes before a trios of birdies on Nos. 3-5.
“Putter stayed hot on the front nine for sure,” said Kocher. “On three, I hit a good wedge in there and made a 15-, 20-footer. Then on four, I hit a really good shot in there. That's a tough hole, a long par 3. I made a 20-, 25-footer again, and then made a 10-, 12-footer on five.”
With another birdie on the par-4 ninth, Kocher made the turn at 4-under par. A pair of birdies on the 11th and 12th, in addition to a bogey-birdie finish on Nos. 17-18, put Kocher at 6-under on the day and 15-under 129 through two rounds, a new career-low 36-hole total.
“It was just a good round overall. I got up to 3-under through five, birdied three in a row. Then just kind of kept it going,” said Kocher. “I was pretty happy with my round. I hit a lot of really good shots, putted well again, so that's all I can ask for.”
Kocher, who is in his second season on the Korn Ferry Tour, has tallied three top-25 finishes in 19 starts this year. His best finish came in March at the Lake Charles Championship where a final score of 10-under for the week earned him a T21 finish. Entering this week No. 114 on the Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season Points List, a win would place him in striking distance of finishing inside the top 25 to earn his first PGA TOUR card. Now heading into the weekend as the solo leader, Kocher plans to stick to his game plan and not concern himself with the leaderboard over the next two days.
“I'll keep looking at it throughout the day, but like I said, I've just been playing good golf,” said Kocher. “If I keep continuing to do that, then I don't think I need to look at leaderboard too much. I'm not going to force it. Just try to play my own game.”
In his 64th career start on the Korn Ferry Tour this week, this marks the first outright lead of Kocher’s career after any of the first three rounds of play in a tournament. His only other time alone atop the leaderboard came when he won the 2020 El Bosque Mexico Championship by INNOVA, his sixth-ever start on the Tour. In that event, Kocher played steady golf throughout the week but never took the lead until the end. He entered the final round five strokes behind 54-hole leader Mito Pereira and shot a 3-under 69, which was good enough to enter a three-man playoff against Paul Barjon and Chad Ramey. Kocher ultimately claimed victory by birdying the first sudden-death hole.
Including his win in Mexico, Kocher recorded nine top-25s, including two top-10s, in 44 starts during the 2020-21 combined season, which saw him finish No. 37 on the Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season Points List. Following his round Friday, Kocher reflected on what he learned from last year’s rookie season.
“I'd have to say keeping my energy under control. It's a long season,” said Kocher. “Just trying to stay fresh at the start of each week and just taking it easy after rounds. I think last year, and the year before that, I was trying to force a little too hard. So only playing a certain number of holes before the week starts and trying to keep my energy at good levels all week.”
Kocher initially turned professional in 2018 after playing collegiately at the University of Maryland. While with the Terrapins, he was a three-time All-Big Ten honoree and became the school’s first golfer to receive four consecutive individual NCAA invitations.
In 2019, Kocher joined PGA TOUR China where he played in 13 events and racked up five top-10 finishes, including his first win as a professional at the Haikou Championship. He went on to finish No. 3 on the Order of Merit and later that year, he finished T21 in the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying Tournament to earn guaranteed starts for the following season.
Third-round tee times will run from 8:00 through 10:12 a.m. local time off the first and 10th tees.