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Kevin Na putts his heart out at home to win Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

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Kevin Na putts his heart out at home to win Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

Kevin Na's record-setting putting helped him win his second title in Las Vegas

    LAS VEGAS – Of course it would come down to a putt.

    Kevin Na obliterated the TPC Summerlin greens this week at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open setting a PGA TOUR record for feet of putts made in a 72-hole event.

    RELATED: Leaderboard | What's in Na's bag?

    But it was a four-foot knee-knocker on the 74th hole, in the midst of a sudden death playoff with Patrick Cantlay, that he needed to claim a fourth PGA TOUR win, and second win at TPC Summerlin.

    Cantlay – the winner two years ago and runner-up last year – had continued his love affair with the course until he three-putted on the second sudden death hole and opened the door for Na to pounce.

    Na’s putt was no gimme but given his form over the four days it was no surprise when it hit the middle and dropped in. The only surprise was Na didn’t walk it in, like he did a hole earlier, as has become his signature style.

    “I should have kissed it after I won. I'll give it a kiss when I get home,” Na joked of his Toulon Madison putter with an graphite shaft.

    “I feel like I'm a pretty good putter. I'm a player that I feel like I get better as I get closer to the greens. That's a strength of my game, a part of my game that gets stronger.

    “Putter got hot this week. Tends to do that sometimes, and when it does, if I'm hitting it halfway decent I feel like I can win.”

    It wasn’t just hot. It was scorching. The PGA TOUR has been tracking putts since ShotLink arrived in 2003 and Na set the new mark at 558 feet, 11 inches over the regulation 72 holes.

    He was an incredible +14.263 in Strokes Gained: Putting.

    Given Na lives in Las Vegas, it was almost like the will of the people was sending his ball to the hole over and over again. Or perhaps it was the fact his father was in the gallery and had yet to see him win, something Na so desperately wanted to provide.

    But as for hitting it halfway decent? Well Na was actually negative in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee (-1.237) and just barely above average Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (+0.579).

    Clearly the putter was the star.

    But so too was his resolve. Na had a three-shot lead at the turn on Sunday and was seemingly cruising to a win. But a triple bogey on the 10th opened the door to Cantlay and others to challenge.

    In fact, Cantlay took the lead after Na found water on the 16th hole. But the Korean born American stayed steadfast and after Cantlay had his own water ball on 17, Na made a clutch 22-foot par save to square things up.

    “The 10th was hard to shake it off, but I made some great putts coming down the stretch,” Na said.

    “I was just grinding, grinding everything I can to make that putt. I'm sure my emotions showed that.”

    Having now won three of his last 30 starts, including two in the 2019 calendar year, Na said he will be making sure Tiger Woods is aware of his form as he chases a captains pick for the Presidents Cup.

    “I'm hoping he texts me. If not, I'm going to be texting him,” Na quipped.

    “You know, during the Playoffs I had the birth of my second child where I missed the BMW Championship. I was injured quite a bit last season. I only played 19 events, which is six to seven short of my normal.

    “So I was a little bit behind on the points but I got two wins in this calendar year, so hopefully he's keeping an eye on me. I could make some putts. I'm a good match-play player. I don't know. I keep trying to sell myself. Hopefully he considers me.”

    Given match play often comes down to putting Woods could do much worse.

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