SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — David Kocher teed off the fourth round at 22 under, a two stroke lead on Robby Shelton.
In his five year professional golf career, David Kocher has never had the lead, let alone for four straight days.
Back in 2020, he came from five strokes down to win his only tournament victory in a playoff. His challenge on championship Sunday is to stay in front for 18 more holes.
Kocher hit the front nine on fire, he birdied five of the first six holes, including this long putt on number four to move to 25 under.
“I told myself before every shot to just have confidence and have commitment,” Kocher said. “That put was pretty fast and I made a good stroke on it, just to see that one go in, it kind of helped me make the birdies on five and six because I knew the putter was hot.”
Kevin Yu shared the lead with Kocher after the first round.
He was hot as well birdieing five straight on the front nine, and that got Kocher’s attention.
“We get to four and there is a big scoreboard right there and I see Kevin Yu making a run, I think oh my goodness I definitely need to keep making birdies,” Kocher said.
Robby Shelton teed off in second place and picked up the chase on the back nine.
With his dog, Riggs, watching from the shade, shelton birdied 11 to get to 22-under.
Shelton finished at 22-under and finished tied with Yu in second place.
The Alabama grad did get enough points to earn his card to the regular PGA Tour and celebrated with his furry fan.
“He’s a true fan,” Shelton said. “He’s so hot right now, but I love seeing him out here.”
Also giving chase on the back nine was UNLV grad Taylor Montgomery.
He pitched out of the sand on 11, got a birdie there and on 12 to get to 23-under par.
Montgomery also finished at 22 under tied for second place.
And like Shelton got a great runner up prize, an invitation to the regular PGA Tour.
“It’s nice to finally lock it up,” Montgomery said. “There is no questions about it. It’ll be nice to be able to book flights and hotels and get prepared for that.”
On 13 the 26 year old was in a swale off the green, but his chip almost rolls in for a birdie, his par protected his five stroke lead.
The Maryland grad led this tournament from the opening day, and set a record with his 28 under par mark.
“I’m just over the moon right now,” Kocher said. “To win, but especially from in front the whole way.”
The win makes him $135,000 richer, and moves him within striking distance of the top 25 and a ticket to the regular PGA Tour.
“It’s hard to win out here,” Kocher said. “But still, I didn’t think it was going to happen this week, I didn’t know it was going to happen this year. I just kept sticking to my gameplan and just made a lot of birdies out here.”
Presenting Kocher with his trophy was Jerald Andrews.
It’s the last time, as Andrews is retiring after 27 years as tournament director.