Kocher breaks PCCC record to win it all

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.

2021 Oklahoma State grad among PCCC’s leaders

Courtesy of PGA TOUR Images

An Oklahoma State alum is hoping to make history in the same town his cousin did recently just up Highland Springs Boulevard at the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.

In fact, Sunday could be one of the most exciting in the history of the PGA Korn Ferry Tour’s Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper, considering the logjam atop the leaderboard.

Nine are within five strokes of the leader, David Koche (22-under par 194), at Highland Springs Country Club here in Springfield.

Among them is Austin Eckroat, a 2021 Oklahoma State University graduate whose cousin, Trevor Vance, was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in May for his quarter-century of work as the groundskeeper of the Kansas City Royals.

“He’s always given us tickets to some baseball games. He’s a good guy,” Eckroat said. “I saw that he was inducted. And (winning Sunday) would be pretty cool – a good story, a good year for us.”

Eckroat has carded a three-day score of 67-66-66 199 and is five strokes back at 17-under par.

This for a 23-year-old who has had three top-18 finishes the past three tournaments, including a solo runner-up last week in Springfield, Ill.

It helps to have family in from Edmond, Okla., and he’s playing for the first time in the Ozarks.

“The process of going to Oklahoma State put me in the right path to have success out here,” Eckroat said.

Others lurking are Robby Shelton, Kevin Roy, Taylor Montgomery, Augusto Nunez, Sam Saunders, Matt McCarty and Justin Suh. Poplar Bluff’s Carr Vernon, invited here on an unrestricted exemption, made the cut Friday. See the leaderboard here. Click here for the full leaderboard.

Sunday’s round will begin at 7:30 AM as golfers start on the No. 1 and No. 10 tee boxes. The new start was prompted by a forecast that shows the potential for thunderstorms after 3 p.m.

Poplar Bluff’s entry

Meanwhile, Poplar Bluff’s Carr Vernon – playing on an unrestricted exemption – is at 9-under par 207 after carding a 3-under par 69 on Saturday.

He eagled the 18th hole, which is a par 5, after double-bogeying No. 17. His round included six birdies, but also three bogeys.


The tournament is benefitting more than 50 Ozarks children’s charities this year, and there are two raffles that will be drawn on Sunday after play ends on the 18th green.

The TLC Properties Charity Sweepstakes is a $25 ticket, with the grand prizes being a 2022 Toyota Tacoma and $10,000.

The other is a Getaway to Paradise, for a seven-night stay, for up to 12, at a home in Manzanillo, Mexico. It include six ocean-facing suites, as well as your personal chef and laundry service. It is $100 a ticket.