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June 2012
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Cochran easily seizes third straight West Kentucky Open

By Mike Stunson mstunson@paducahsun.com

LEDBETTER - There's just something about the Drake Creek Golf Club for Paducah native Rick Cochran.

Cochran cruised to his third straight Texas Roadhouse West Kentucky Open victory at the Ledbetter golf course on Sunday, winning the professional division by seven strokes by shooting a two-day score of 131 (67-64).

"This golf course just fits my style," he said after winning his fourth Open in five years. "There are a lot of drivers and wedges, and the greens are phenomenal. I just feel comfortable here."

It's been a productive summer for Cochran, who won the Kentucky Open and the local Irvin Cobb Championship in addition to this weekend's title.

"This is home to me, and every time I go on the road I can't wait to come back," he said. "It means the world to me to have the fans come out like they did, and me perform the way I did for them."

Early on in Sunday's final round it looked like it would be a tight finish, as Lee Childress birdied his first three holes and then chipped in for eagle on No. 4 to even things up with Cochran at 7 under.

From there, it was all Cochran, as the Heath High School graduate was 6 under par over the last 14 holes - five shots better than any of his top competition.

"Lee got off to a great start and played well. I just kept my head down and tried to make birdies," Cochran said. "I can't control what the other golfers do. I can only control what I do. I knew if I kept making birdies then I'd be fine in the end. I was lucky to make some putts to do that."

Cochran finished the day with nine birdies to go along with just one bogey, coming on the No. 7 hole. His second-round score of 64 was one stroke shy of the course record he holds.

"It freezes you up whenever you can make those 10-, 15-foot putts. It really gets your round going," he said.

Benton's Patrick Newcomb came away with second place, edging Childress by one stroke with his 6 under par tournament. Newcomb started the day just one stroke off the lead, but couldn't keep up with Cochran's pace.

After his hot start, Childress settled down and shot 2 over on the last 14 holes. Nick Newcomb (Murray) and Nichalous Goodin (Springfield, Missouri) rounded out the top five.

The West Kentucky Open ends a busy summer playing in statewide events for Cochran, who said he may play in the Missouri Open next month.

In September he will return to the PGA Latinoamerica Tour, where he ranks second in league earnings.

Winning the amateur championship Sunday was Cape Girardeau's Brevin Giebler, who used a first-round 68 to escape with a one-stroke win even after a second-round 77. Giebler said it was his first tournament win, with it also being the first time he has played at the Drake Creek course.

Other flight winners included Mike Shelburne (Paducah), Nick Choate (Cadiz), Cory Smith (Benton) and Zach Mills (Mayfield). Tommy Thomas (Paducah) won the seniors championship flight, with Ron Sherwood (Paducah) winning the seniors first flight.

Call Mike Stunson, a Sun sports writer, at 270-575-8662.

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