Golf's magic number

Tour pro shoots third 59 of the year on the Korn Ferry Tour in Idaho

August 27, 2023
1628182070

Alex Goodlett

David Kocher stood over a 12-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole Sunday at Hillcrest Country Club. He appeared calm, but that was not the case. The 27-year-old was 11 under in the final round of the Korn Ferry Tour's Albertsons Boise Open, his mother and brother were nearby watching, and the only thing keeping Kocher from history was the putt in front of him.

Kocher drained the putt, delivered a fist-pump with his left hand and recorded a 12-under 59, the third such score on the Korn Ferry Tour this year, following Mac Meissner at the LECOM Suncoast Classic and Michael Feagles at the BMW Charity Pro-Am. Oddly, none of the three men won their respective events. Kocher, however, had the best finish of the bunch, ending in second place, two shots behind Chan Kim, who won for the second week in a row.

Kocher, who shot 63-69-67-59 for a 26-under-par total, started the day off the pace but quickly bolted into contention after six consecutive birdies on Nos. 2-7. Another on the ninth moved him to seven under on the day and he turned in 29 shots. Kocher was only one under on the next five holes, but birdied the 14th, eagled the par-5 16th hole and then closed with the birdie from 12 feet on the home hole. He missed a 12 footer for birdie on 17.

"It was actually really nice because it was straight down the hill, I didn't even have to worry about speed," he said. "Just canned it."

The University of Maryland grad who now makes his home in Charlotte, N.C., is a two-time winner on the Korn Ferry Tour—2020 El Bosque Mexico Championship, 2022 Price Cutter Charity Championship—but has not played particularly well this year. He tied for fifth place two weeks ago in Nebraska for his only top-10 finish of the year. He’s missed 10 cuts.

The timing of the result for Kocher was beneficial, as if there’s ever a bad time to shoot 59. He entered this first of four Korn Ferry Tour finals events at 82nd on the points list, with the top 75 at the end of the year earning full KFT status for next year. With that now a virtual certainty, he’ll look to improve his status and aim for earning a PGA Tour card—top 30 claim those—with three starts remaining.

"I've been on the outside looking in the past few years," he said, "so this was big for confidence and for the rest of the season moving forward."