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October 3 2011

1:25 AM

Na gets breakthrough win in Vegas

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Kevin Na earned his first victory PGA TOUR on Sunday at TPC Summerlin.
By Chris Dunham, PGATOUR.COM Three times a runner-up. Five times a third-place finisher. Kevin Na finally broke through with his first PGA TOUR victory Sunday at TPC Summerlin. Na birdied three consecutive holes late in his round, capped by a 40-foot bomb on the par-3 17th, to put away a two-shot victory over Nick Watney at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open near his home in Las Vegas. “I'm just very excited about my first win,” Na said. “It wasn't easy. Nick was coming right behind me, looked like any time he was going to make a move, and I tried as best as I could to stay one step ahead of him. I think the putt on 17 basically sealed the deal for me.” The 28-year-old who now has 29 top-10 finishes in his 211 career PGA TOUR starts said this week didn’t really feel much different down the stretch than his previous near misses. “Maybe a little bit, but nothing ridiculous different, but I think I was a little more comfortable,” Na said. “Maybe because I was in my hometown, my home course, but I think I was definitely ready. And I was mentally ready, physically ready, and it was just time for me to win.” Na hopes this Fall Series victory leads him to more successes a la Matt Kuchar, who won in the ’09 Fall Series before leading the TOUR money list in 2010, and Bill Haas, who won last year’s Fall Series Opener then went on to claim this year’s FedExCup. “I told everybody, once I get my first win, the wins are going to start rolling in,” Na said. “And I think it's like that for a lot of the guys. You look at a lot of the guys that have struggled, that have been good players that have struggled for their first win, and once they get that first win, it seems like a lot of guys go on and win a bunch of tournaments.” Na won his lone Nationwide Tour event in the western U.S. (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) and now adds this victory at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas for his second on the major U.S. tours. If the home field advantage thing continues to work, Na has a plan to broaden his range of victories. “Hopefully I'll keep winning,” Na said. “(I’ll try to) keep winning here, and if I want to win a tournament somewhere else, I guess I gotta move to maybe Augusta or something.” For now, Na will settle for his newfound residency among the champions of the PGA TOUR.
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