An event from the Korn Ferry Tour’s inaugural 1990 schedule was once again won in record-breaking fashion, as David Kocher broke the 72-hole tournament scoring record for a six-stroke victory at the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper.
Kocher carded a 6-under 66 Sunday and totaled 28-under 260 for the week as four players shared runner-up honors at 22-under 266.
Kocher broke a 72-hole tournament scoring record of 27-under 261 previously established by Doug LaBelle II in 2006 and Dylan Wu last year. A native of Morristown, New Jersey who now resides in Charlotte, North Carolina, Kocher became the fifth player in Korn Ferry Tour history to finish an event at 28-under par or better. The only other player to accomplish the feat on a par 72 course setup was Daniel Chopra, who posted a 30-under 258 at the 2004 Henrico County Open.
“You have to make birdies out here to win, especially on this Tour,” said Kocher, who made 31 birdies and tied a Korn Ferry Tour record previously established by Craig Lile (2003 Cox Classic), Ken Duke (2006 Price Cutter Charity Championship) and Steve Wheatcroft (2011 Melwood Prince George’s County Open).
Kocher, a University of Maryland alum, turned in not only the largest margin of victory this season, but the largest margin of victory on the Korn Ferry Tour since Ben Taylor’s six-stroke win at the 2018 Astara Golf Championship presented by Mastercard. Kocher also matched Hunter Haas (2010) for the largest margin of victory in the 33-year history of the Price Cutter Charity Championship.
Despite the fact Kocher entered the week without a top-10 this season and at No. 114 on the Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season Points List, a recent string of made cuts and a friendly nudge from a close friend gave him plenty of confidence at Highland Springs Country Club.
“I’ve been playing really well the last five or six weeks,” Kocher said. “(It’s) a little bit of a relief. Trevor Cone has been kind of pushing me to win ever since he won (at AdventHealth Championship)… I didn’t think it was going to happen this week. I didn’t know if it was going to happen this year. I just kept sticking to my game plan and just made a lot of birdies.”
Making birdies early in the final round was vital for Kocher, who began the day with a two-stroke lead. Two groups ahead of him, Kevin Yu birdied the first five holes and applied pressure on the top of the leaderboard.
“I told my caddie I’m not going to look at the leaderboard all day,” Kocher said. “I wasn’t really looking at all, and then we get to No. 4 and there’s a huge scoreboard right there, and I see Kevin (Yu) making a run. I’m like, ‘Oh my goodness, I definitely need to keep making birdies.’ That was the only leaderboard I looked at until No. 17.”
Kocher birdied five of the first six holes Sunday, with the exception being a par at No. 2. Kocher added his 31st and final birdie of the week at the par-5 11th, after which he closed with seven consecutive pars for a bogey-free 66.
As Kocher finished off his second career Korn Ferry Tour win, he joined Anders Albertson as the only other player this season who led or shared the lead after every round. Prior to this week, Kocher had never held an 18-, 36-, or 54-hole lead on Tour.
“I was definitely a little nervous after the round,” Kocher said of holding the 54-hole lead. “My girlfriend is here, so we played a lot of just kind of pointless games to keep my mind off it. She beat me in every single one of the games. I figured I can’t lose all weekend, so I wanted to win today. It was no problem sleeping. I called my coach last night and he put my mind at ease.”
Kocher’s previous Korn Ferry Tour win came at the 2020 El Bosque Mexico Championship by INNOVA in what was the sixth start of his career. Kocher began the final round five strokes off the lead, but eventually prevailed over Paul Barjon and Chad Ramey, now PGA TOUR rookies, in a sudden-death playoff. It was the last Korn Ferry Tour event contested prior to the COVID-19 pandemic hiatus.
“Coming from behind in Mexico… it was definitely a weird feeling because I didn’t know I was even in contention until I got to No. 15,” said Kocher, who finished No. 37 on the 2020-21 Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season Points List. “This one, I knew I just had to play well all week. I was very proud of myself how I hung in there and hit a lot of really quality shots.”
The win takes Kocher all the way to No. 30 on the Korn Ferry Tour Regular Season Points List. With two events left in the regular season, Kocher is now firmly in the mix for his first PGA TOUR card.
“It gives me a lot of confidence,” Kocher said. “I know my game is in a really good spot, obviously, with this win. I really like Utah, I really like Omaha. I’m just going to keep playing my golf and, hopefully, keep playing really good golf.”
While Kocher moved onto the bubble for The 25, Taylor Montgomery and Robby Shelton became the 13th and 14th players, respectively, to secure #TOURBound status this season. The Korn Ferry Tour is currently using 875 points as a fail-safe threshold for players to finish inside The 25 and earn a PGA TOUR card at regular season’s end. TOUR cards for the 2022-23 season will be awarded upon the conclusion of the Pinnacle Bank Championship presented by Aetna next month.
Montgomery will be a first-time PGA TOUR member this fall, while Robby Shelton returns to the TOUR after previously graduating from the Korn Ferry Tour following the 2019 season.
The 2022 Korn Ferry Tour season continues with the penultimate regular season event Thursday, August 4 at the Utah Championship presented by Zions Bank at Oakridge Country Club in Farmington, Utah.