Kohles closes with 62 for 2nd straight win
Omaha, NE (Sports Network) - Ben Kohles fired a 9-under 62 on Sunday to win the Cox Classic by three strokes.
The victory was Kohles' second in two weeks, making him the first player in tour history to win his first two tour starts. Kohles ended at 24-under-par 260.
"They mean everything obviously. That's what you come here to do and I'm just playing good. Hopefully, I can keep it going," Kohles said in a televised interview.
"They were both awesome. Today, I think I played the best round of my life. Obviously, bogey-free for a third time. I'm just playing really good right now."
He needed everyone of his nine birdies to get past Dawie Van Der Walt. The South African fired an 11-under 60 to end alone in second at minus-21. Van Der Walt had putts for 59 on 17 and 18, but failed to convert.
Luke Guthrie, who lost to Kohles in a playoff last week in Ohio, closed with a 3-under 68 to share third place at Champions Run. He was joined at 20-under- par 264 by Jim Herman and Justin Bolli, who both shot 64 on Sunday, and Adam Hadwin, who carded a 66 in the final round.
Russell Henley, who shared the third-round lead with Guthrie, closed with a 2- under 69 to finish alongside Justin Hicks (65) at minus-19.
Van Der Walt was the story of the day before Kohles caught fire. He had six birdies on the front nine, including four in a row from the sixth, to make the turn at 16-under.
The South African eagled the par-5 10th then birdied the 12th to grab a share of the lead. After Aaron Goldberg joined him in the lead, Van Der Walt responded with a birdie on 14.
Van Der Walt 2-putted for birdie on the par-5 17th to move to 21-under. He missed a 4-foot birdie effort at the last that would have given him a 59.
"When I made the birdie on 14, I thought I had a good chance coming in if I made a couple more birdies," Van Der Walt said in a TV interview about shooting 59. "Then I hit a really good shot on the next hole, and I was like I do have a chance. Then on 16, I left a putt short, I guess I got a little nervous. I just missed a few putts coming in."
As Van Der Walt left the course, Kohles was already hot on his heels. Kohles birdied the third and fourth, both from inside 12 feet.
Kohles followed birdies on seven and eight with an up-and-down birdie from over the green on the short par-4 ninth. The birdie on the ninth gave Kohles a piece of the lead at minus-20.
Kohles rolled in a 6-foot birdie effort on the 11th to again grab a piece of the lead at 21-under. He knocked his approach to kick-in range at 14 and made it two in a row with a 4-foot birdie putt at 15.
After a par on 16, Kohles hit a poor drive into tall grass on the par-5 17th. He scrambled to a par there, then closed out his victory in style with a 10- foot birdie putt at the last.
"I just kept my head down. We were pedal to the metal at the end because you never know what will happen behind you," Kohles said in a television interview.
NOTES: Kohles earned $117,000 for the win and jumped to No. 2 on the money list and virtually secured his PGA Tour card for next year...This was the second straight year the winner had also won the week before and Kohles became the sixth player in tour history to win in consecutive weeks...Guthrie has finished second and third in the last two weeks, and that helped him soar to 20th on the money list...The tour is in Missouri next week for the Price Cutter Charity Championship, where Steve Friesen won last year.
08/05 19:08:25 ET