ORLANDO, Fla. – Jason Kokrak was all smiles in the interview room after the third round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
A bogey-free 65 tends to lighten the mood.
“It was a fun day out there,” Kokrak said. “I know the conditions are a little soft but, you know, [bogey-free rounds] are few and far between for me.”
Last year Kokrak had a front-row seat to see how this event can be won: He finished alone in fourth, but played the final round alongside eventual champion Matt Every. This time around, he hopes to be the one holding the trophy Sunday afternoon, even though he will be battling a jam-packed leaderboard that includes world No. 3 Henrik Stenson.
“I can recall different things, the feelings I have. I know I get a little bit jacked up coming down the stretch, so I know to hit the irons a little bit further,” he said. “You’ve got to just limit the mental mistakes out here.”
Kokrak is making the 86th start of his PGA Tour career, but his best finish remains a runner-up at the 2012 Frys.com Open. With a number of players still in the mix, he believes the tournament will be won or lost on Bay Hill’s greens, which will be renovated this summer.
Coming off a season-best T-7 finish last week at the Valspar Championship – not to mention his lowest score since January – Kokrak will take his chances.
“Out here on Tour, it’s a putting contest,” he said. “Most of the guys hit it pretty well but if I can limit the mistakes and make a few putts, I expect to be [there] coming down the stretch.”