Kokrak flies high with two eagles at La Quinta
By Mark Lamport-Stokes
LA QUINTA, California (Reuters) - Long-hitting American Jason Kokrak recorded two eagles in ideal scoring conditions as he charged into a three-way tie for the lead in Thursday's opening round at the Humana Challenge.
While twice former champion Phil Mickelson struggled with his putting en route to a level-par 72, Kokrak fired a flawless 63 at La Quinta Country Club, one of three venues hosting the pro-am celebrity event.
The beefy Kokrak took advantage of a picture-perfect day in the California desert, covering his last nine holes in four-under 32 to finish level with compatriots Roberto Castro and James Hahn.
In-form PGA Tour rookie Russell Henley, who won last week's Sony Open in Hawaii, was a further stroke back after a 64, along with fellow American Doug LaBelle II and Australians Aaron Baddeley and Greg Chalmers.
On a sublime, sun-splashed day in the California desert, Kokrak made a sizzling start with a birdie on his opening hole, the par-four 10th, followed by an eagle at the 11th.
"I just got off to a good solid start," he told reporters after mixing five birdies with his two eagles.
"I just tried to play solid from tee to green, put it in the right spots, put it in the fairways, and out there that's key. Today couldn't have been a better day."
COMFORT FACTOR Continued...