May 13 2012
Watch: Kang eagles 16th
Sung Kang eagled the par-5 16th on Sunday with a chip shot from 72 feet.
By Ward Clayton, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Sung Kang admires the consistency that his buddy Kevin Na has displayed this week in THE PLAYERS Championship, both physically and mentally.
“Mentally, he is strong,” said Kang, a 24-year-old South Korean and a regular practice round partner of Na, the 54-hole leader. “I think he’ll play pretty good and I think he’s going to figure it out.”
Kang has witnessed Na’s aborted pre-swing routine plenty of times in practice rounds. Kang joked that when Na is in his routine, he will regularly lean forward to walk to the next shot before having to stop.
“He goes up and I am taking a step ahead; it always happens,” Kang said.
“Kevin just wants to make sure he has the right backswing. He knows when he goes back wrong that he’ll hit a bad shot. He just wants to make sure his backswing is right, so he doesn’t have to think about it.”
Kang was all over the map in his first PLAYERS Championship appearance, completing 72 holes at 4-over 292. But that doesn’t tell the complete story as he made 15 birdies and three eagles balanced by a quadruple bogey 8 on the tournament’s first hole, two triple bogeys in the final round and two double bogeys on the par-3 17th.
The Sunday triple bogey on the par-4 10th came after his second shot was stuck high up in a palm tree and could not be identified. He finished his tournament with a chip-in eagle on the par-5 16th and birdieing 17 to shoot a final-round 77.
“I was 21-under for 18 holes,” he said with a smile. “Now I’ve got to figure out what to do with the other 54 holes.”
Kang said he had to leave in late afternoon for a flight to Dallas for this week’s HP Byron Nelson Championship, but that he would contact Na tonight.
“We just text each other regularly,” Kang said. “(Last night) I just told him to go ’em, to play well.”