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Kokrak leads blustery NW Championship

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DANIEL ISLAND, S.C. – It was a tough day at “Royal Daniel Island” with winds that whipped to 35 mph making the year-ending Nationwide Tour Championship look more like the Open Championship.

So much so Jason Kokrak carded a 3-over 75 and still maintained his advantage over the field, taking a one-stroke lead into the final 18. A victory would be the Nationwide Tour rookie’s third of 2011 and would secure him a “battlefield” promotion and the circuit’s money title.

“(The money title) is nothing I’m constantly thinking about, but it gets you into The Players and being able to play in a major is huge,” Kokrak said. “Look at what Keegan (Bradley) did at the PGA.”

Kokrak is a stroke clear of Scott Brown, who carded what many consider to be the round of the event (5-under 67), and Daniel Chopra, who was tied for the lead through 36 holes but stumbled to a 77, 15 shots more than his tournament-record 62 on Friday.

Chopra began the week 24th in earnings and is currently projected to finish 21st after a 41 on his closing nine, while bubble boy Billy Hurley III remains teetering at 25th after an even-par 72.

Ken Duke may have made up the most ground on Saturday, playing his back nine in 2 under for a share of second place. Duke began the week 36th on the money list.