Jason Kokrak likes to know how everybody is doing on the golf course, so the big-hitting 26-year-old watches the leaderboard during his rounds. What he’s seen this week is his name established clearly at the top.
Kokrak added a 5-under 66 to a first-day 63 at the Nationwide Tour’s Miccosukee Championship and moved into sole possession of the 36-hole lead. Kokrak’s 13-under 129 total is not only a tournament record at the halfway point, but it’s three shots better Luke List (66) and Jonas Blixt (65), his nearest challengers.
“I’m a watcher, I like to know,” said Kokrak, winner of the Albertsons Boise Open last month. “I like to put that pressure on myself because I want to know if I should play out to the middle of the green or take dead aim and hit it.”
Kokrak has been using his length off the tee – he’s No. 1 in Average Driving Distance on Tour this year – to his advantage this week at the Miccosukee Golf & Country Club.
“The par 5s are all reachable and on the long par 4s I’m still hitting 8-, 9-iron or wedge into the greens where some of the guys have to use 5- and 6-irons,” said the leader. “I think length is a huge advantage. There are some holes out here where we can play aggressive.”
Kokrak, who started the year with conditional status, has been hammering his way around the Nationwide Tour since early summer when he finally started getting into tournaments. He made the cut in nine of his previous 13 starts and has a pair of top-10 finishes to go along with his first career win.
“I’ve only had half a season out here so I’m still proving myself a little bit,” he said. “I want to finish off strong and hopefully win again before we’re done. Hopefully we’ll throw up another 63 and put this thing away.”
Kokrak relied on his putting to grab a share of Thursday’s lead with Daniel Chopra (72), but was a little more solid on Friday while moving into first place. He hit more fairways and more greens while creating some distance on the field.
Chasing him are former college standouts List (Vanderbilt) and Blixt (Florida State).
Brett Wetterich, who became a father for the second time on Thursday, is four shots back heading into the weekend. Jin Park, Brad Elder, Carl Paulson, Rahil Gangjee, Tyrone Van Aswegen and Matt Every are five off the pace.