5 Things: Kohles wins again on Web.com Tour

Former Virginia All-American Ben Kohles

Former Virginia All-American Ben Kohles

Ben Kohles’ record-breaking start to his pro career continued at the Cox Classic. He won for the second consecutive week, giving him two victories in two professional starts. How many other pros can say they are undefeated? Here’s 5 Things you need to know from Kohles’ victory in Omaha, Neb.:

• • •

1. WELL, THAT WAS EASY: Kohles is only the seventh player to win in consecutive weeks on the Web.com Tour. It’s infinitely more impressive that he’s done so in his first two weeks as a pro.

Here’s a numerical breakdown that tells you all you need to know about Kohles’ career: Two starts. Two wins. $261,000 in earnings. One 2013 PGA Tour card. All eight of his rounds have been under par, including seven in the 60s, and has a 66.5 scoring average.

Kohles shot 24-under 260, including a final-round 62, to win the Cox Classic by three shots. Last week, he became the first person to win a Web.com Tour event in his pro debut. He was bogey-free on the weekend and made just two bogeys all week. His consecutive victories moved him to second on the Web.com Tour money list, $28,968 behind Casey Wittenberg.

“I think I played the best round of my life today. That was a blast,” Kohles said after hitting 17 of 18 greens. “I’m pretty shocked myself. What are you supposed to do better than this?

“I don’t think that part has sunk in yet. It’s pretty life-altering.”

Kohles, who’s been wearing shirts from his amateur days because he lacks a clothing sponsor, is one win from an immediate PGA Tour promotion. He’s in the field for this week’s Price Cutter Charity Championship in Springfield, Mo.

Kohles took control of the tournament when he hit a pair of 7-irons to a foot and 5 feet at Nos. 14 and 15 to birdie both holes and reach 23 under par.

• • •

2. OH, SO CLOSE: Dawie van der Walt was 6 feet from history. He missed a 6-foot birdie putt on the final green that would’ve given him membership in the exclusive 59 Club. Van der Walt missed the birdie putt, but his final-round 60 gave him his best career Web.com Tour finish.

“I think the most nervous I was was on the 18th hole when I had that putt to shoot 59,” van der Walt said. He also missed an 8-footer for eagle at 17.

This was van der Walt’s first top-10 in 27 career Web.com Tour events. He finished second at 21-under 263, three shots back of Kohles. Van der Walt’s $70,200 check moved him from 111th to 35th on the Web.com Tour money list. This was just his seventh start of 2012.

A 59 only would’ve matched the course record at Champions Run. Jason Gore shot 59 in his victory there during his magical summer of 2005, when he contended at the U.S. Open, won three Web.com Tour titles and won his lone PGA Tour title.

• • •

3. NOT TO BE OVERLOOKED: Luke Guthrie’s success has been overshadowed by Ben Kohles’ record-setting start, but it is impressive nonetheless. Guthrie is 20th on the Web.com Tour money list in just two starts. He lost to Kohles in a playoff at last week’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital, then finished third this week.

Guthrie’s Web.com Tour success was preceded by three consecutive top-20s on the PGA Tour: a T19 in his pro debut at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, a T5 at the John Deere Classic and a T18 at the True South Classic.

He was offered a sponsor exemption into the PGA Tour’s Reno-Tahoe Open, which was played the same week as the Cox Classic, but declined the invitation to focus on the Web.com Tour. Guthrie’s finish at the Cox Classic earned him a start in this week’s Price Cutter Charity Championship.

Guthrie had a three-shot lead after 36 holes, using 22 birdies to shoot 62-63. He shot 71-68 in the final two rounds to finish four shots back. His 28 birdies tied for most in the field.

Jim Herman, who made a hole-in-one with a 9-iron on the eighth hole, Adam Hadwin and Justin Bolli also tied for third.

• • •

4. ON THE RISE: Web.com Tour rookie Russell Henley started the season with big expectations. He won on the Web.com Tour last year as an amateur before representing the United States at last year’s Walker Cup.

Henley played with Guthrie and Adam Hadwin in Sunday’s final group, but his bogey-free 69 dropped him from a tie for first into seventh place. It was Henley’s second top-10 in his past three starts, though.

He’s earned $35,232 in the past three weeks after earning just $20,109 in his first 13 events. He now ranks 63rd on the tour’s money list.

• • •

5. MR. CONSISTENT: Justin Hicks shot 129 on the weekend (64-65) to tie for seventh, his third top-10 in his past four Web.com Tour start. He also finished 45th at the Open Championship during that span.

Hicks, 37, is now eighth on the money list ($186,813), the highest ranking of a player without a victory this season. That position is testament to Hicks’ consistency this season. He’s finished in the top-25 in 10 of 15 starts this season. He’s finished in the top-10 six times. Hicks was a PGA Tour rookie in 2011, finishing 179th on the money list.

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