HOUSTON, TX ,There’s no way I should be standing here, Jason Kokrak joked after winning the Houston Open for the third time on the PGA Tour.
okrak‘s triumph was marked by a level of humility that went much beyond that of a typical Tour winner. In fact, it was a little surprise that he attended the event at all.
He revealed after his come-from-behind triumph over Scottie Scheffler and Kevin Tway, “I debated actually withdrawing because I was hitting it so terrible.”
He was in such bad shape that he informed swing coach Drew Steckel, “I can’t play.”
“On Tuesday, I was on the phone with him for nine holes of his practice round,” Steckel explained. “He was in a lot of pain.”
Kokrak improved during the pro-am on Wednesday after an extended range practice on Tuesday while still on the phone with Steckel, and he managed an under-par round (68) to start the week. When he returned to Memorial Park early Saturday morning to finish his weather-delayed second round, he appeared to unravel in what he dubbed a “debacle.”
He went bogey-double bogey-par-bogey with seven holes to play and nearly missed the cut after finishing with a triple bogey-7 for a back-nine 41.
“I’m not sure what happened Saturday morning, if I slept too much or what. “Something occurred, and I didn’t play my best golf,” Kokrak admitted.
Kokrak bounced back with a third-round 66, and Steckel reminded him on the eve of the final round that he was “only two strokes off the lead.” With four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 on the back nine on Sunday, he drew away from the field for a two-stroke victory.