Austin Eckroat wins first title at delayed Cognizant Classic

FLORIDA, United States: Austin Eckroat won the weather-delayed Cognizant Classic by three strokes Monday to capture his first career PGA Tour title in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Eckroat was 15 under with a one-stroke lead through seven holes Sunday when play was suspended due to darkness at PGA National's Champion course. He added three birdies and a bogey on the back nine Monday morning to card a 4-under 67 for a winning score of 17-under 267.

Eckroat pocketed US$1.62 million following his 50th career start, his top payday by far on the circuit.

"This has always been my dream to win on the PGA Tour," Eckroat told the Golf Channel.

"And just to win, I haven't won since 2019 – it was a college event. It's just been so long. I'm just so happy."

At 25, Eckroat is the youngest winner this season and youngest since Ludvig Aberg (24) at the 2023 RSM Classic. With the win, he also moves from No. 94 to No. 17 in the FedExCup standings and qualifies for the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

"I just kept telling myself, 'I've put myself in this position for a reason,'" Eckroat said.

"This is what I want to do."

South Africa's Erik van Rooyen had been the leader in the clubhouse after finishing at 14 under on Sunday. He posted a final-round low of 63 and tied for second with Australia's Min Woo Lee (final round 67).

Five players tied for fourth at 13 under, including rookie Jake Knapp (66), who picked up his first career win at the Mexico Open at Vidanta last week. South Korea's K.H. Lee (66), Cameron Young (66), Ireland's Shane Lowry (71) and England's David Skinns (71) were also at 13 under.

Knapp has now posted three top-5 finishes in his last four starts.

"I was happy with how I managed everything this week," Knapp told Golf Channel.

Skinns, meanwhile, recorded his best finish in his 33rd career start.

Rory McIlroy carded a final round 68 and finished T21 at 10 under for the tournament. --REUTERS-Field Level Media

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