Jason Kokrak wins CJ Cup to get PGA Tour title in 233rd try

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Jason Kokrak holds the championship trophy after winning the CJ Cup golf tournament at Shadow Creek Golf Course Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in North Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)

NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Jason Kokrak was playing for the 233rd time in his 10th season on the PGA Tour without ever having won, so he didn't need any reminders Sunday in the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek that anything would come easily.

He watched Xander Schauffele stuff a wedge to 5 feet for birdie and roll in a 45-foot birdie putt from the thick collar of the 13th green on the next hole to tie for the lead.

Kokrak never flinched.

Holding his nerve to the end and delivering all the key shots, Kokrak matched the low score of the week with an 8-under 64 to overcome a three-shot deficit at the start and win by two shots to finally be able to call himself a PGA Tour winner.

“To wait this long for my first win, it's a pretty special thing,” Kokrak said. “Couldn't be happier.”

The timing couldn't have been better. The CJ Cup moved from South Korea this year to Shadow Creek because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Kokrak is an ambassador for MGM Resorts, which owns the prestigious Tom Fazio design, and he has played the course some two dozen times.

“It feels like home,” Kokrak said. “I've played this golf course enough that I should know it by now.”

Adding to the feeling was having outdueled Schauffele, who made him work for it.