Kelly Kraft wins Tour’s Louisiana Open

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Kelly Kraft (Stan Badz/ PGA TOUR)

BROUSSARD, La. – Kelly Kraft won the Louisiana Open on Sunday for his first Tour title, closing with a 6-under 65 in windy conditions for a one-stroke victory at Le Triomphe.

Kraft, the 26-year-old former SMU player who won the 2012 U.S. Amateur, had a 14-under 270 total. He earned $99,000 to jump to sixth on the money list with $113,414.

“It’s been a while. It feels good to win again,” Kraft said. “The back nine is harder and everyone seems to back up. After nine holes, I thought if I can post a number it may work out. Toward the end I was just trying to make birdies.”

Six strokes behind Rick Cochran III at the start of the round, Kraft birdied Nos. 15-17 and finished with a par on the par-4 18th after missing a 6-foot birdie putt.

“I hit a good putt,” he said. “It just went a little more left than I thought it would. I thought I needed to make that to get into a playoff, but I got lucky and am happy to win it outright.”

South Korea’s D.H. Lee and Australia’s Rhein Gibson tied for second. Lee birdied for the final two holes for a 63. Gibson bogeyed Nos. 13 and 14 and closed with four straight pars for a 71. He missed a 15-foot birdie putt on 18.

“I knew what I had to do coming in,” Gibson said. “I had some chances and didn’t convert. I fell in love with the line and I just forgot to hit it.”

Cochran closed with a 73 to tie for fourth at 12 under.

Kraft was making his 50th start on the tour.

“I’ve played with too much expectation since I turned pro,” Kraft said. “I’ve started out the last couple of years with high expectations because I had a good amateur career and I thought I was better than I was. I’ve been working with a new coach and he’s helped me remember what it to just play golf again and have fun, rather than getting so caught up in the mechanics.”

Canada’s Roger Sloan tied for 11th at 10-under 274.