The Punter's De-Brief: Kokrak scrambles home in Texas

Golfer Jason Kokrak
Charles Schwab Challenge winner - Jason Kokrak

Jason Kokrak has won the Charles Schwab Challenge and Bernd Wiesberger has defended in Denmark. Our man looks back at their victories here with his customary Monday debrief...

"Spieth hasn’t been the same since his infamous collapse at Augusta and I won’t be so confident about siding with him going forward."

The 2016 Charles Schwab Challenge winner, Jordan Spieth, a well-fancied 12.011/1 chance before the off, began the final round of this year's edition with a one-stroke lead over pre-event 75.074/1 chance, Jason Kokrak, and when his nearest challenger bogeyed the easy opening hole, Spieth was matched at a low of just 1.351/3 but he lost his way badly after that.

Spieth's record at Colonial is spectacularly good and in nine visits he's never finished worse than 15th but he recorded three bogeys in-a-row for the first at the course between holes two and four yesterday.

Kokrak wasn't playing brilliantly himself though and he too bogeyed the fourth before back-to-back birdies at five and six saw him get back on track. Kokrak took the lead again with a birdie at the eighth hole but Spieth responded with this approach at nine and they made the turn for home tied at the top.

A birdie at the par five 11th saw Kokrak take the lead again but the really big turning point came on the par three 13th when his nine iron off the tee just cleared the water. He cried 'get lucky' as it was in the air and he made the most his luck, rolling in the birdie putt from 17 feet to double his advantage.

Kokrak's lead was down to one after both players bogeyed 15 and Kokrak dropped another at 16 but Spieth couldn't find his game to close the gap. Both made pars from off the green on 17 and when needing birdie at the last, the home state hero missed the 18th fairway and hit his approach into the water. Kokrak went on to make his par and win by two on a day when neither of the main protagonists played well.

Having finished tied for third at Colonial last year, Kokrak wasn't an unexpected winner and having made 232 appearances on the PGA Tour before getting off the mark, at the CJ Cup in October, he's now won twice in just 17 starts.

At 36, he was the exact age of all previous Colonial winners and he's the third multiple winner of the season, along with Bryson DeChambeau and Stewart Cink.

Over on the European Tour, the defending champion, Bernd Wiesberger, began the final round of the Made in Himmerland with a one-stroke lead and like Spieth later in the day, he too doubled his lead at the first hole courtesy of a birdie three but that's where the similarity between the two players ends.

Although he dropped a shot at the par three third when he missed a shot putt when putting through his own shadow, unlike Spieth, Wiesberger just assumed control after that and he closed out in very impressive fashion.

Wiesberger win Himmerland.jpg

The 35-year-old Austrian made six birdies in eight holes from the eighth and the result was never in doubt after the turn. This was Bernd's first win since October 2019 but it's his ninth on the European Tour altogether and I doubt it'll be his last.

When he won this title in May 2019 it was his first in two years and he quickly followed it with two more, winning the Scottish Open in July and the Italian Open three months later.

Having been a 120.0119/1 chance two years ago when seemingly badly out of form, Wiesberger defended at considerably shorter, going off at around 27.026/1.

My Bets

Pre-event pick, Guido Migliozzi, finished solo second in Denmark but the lowest he traded at was 12.011/1 and it was a similar story with 220.0219/1 Find Me a 100 Winner pick, Patton Kizzire, in Texas, who finished tied for third. He too traded at a low of 12.011/1.

As highlighted in the In-Play Blog, I backed Bernd at halfway at just under 2/1, so that was a lovely result, but Spieth was disappointing given I backed him at 2.186/5 at halfway too.

I was very confident that he'd get the better of Kokrak, who's been very flaky in-contention in the past, but Spieth's game just fell apart over the weekend and he's one to be wary off...

Spieth still a work in progress

Although he ended his winless drought with victory at the Valero Texas Open last month, Spieth is still a work in progress and it's quite clear that he doesn't yet trust his game fully. He had this to say about his swing after yesterday's defeat.

"I was taking the club back and had no freaking clue where it was going to go."

Although he wasn't pressed particularly hard, he was an impressive enough winner at TPC San Antonio but that's starting to look like a one-off and yesterday's effort was a big step backwards.

He hasn't been the same since his infamous collapse at Augusta and I won't be so confident about siding with him going forward.

Spieth at Colonail hand off club.jpg

Spieth is currently trading at 16.015/1 for this week's Memorial Tournament and that looks short enough to me given how all over the shop he was yesterday - especially off the tee.

The Memorial Tournament starts on Thursday so I'll be back later today or tomorrow with my preview for that one and I'll preview the Porsche European Open tomorrow or Wednesday. Due to covid restrictions, that event has been reduced to 54 holes and it won't start until Saturday.

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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