Monday Finish: Na rides hot putter to win in Las Vegas
October 07, 2019
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Kevin Na's Round 4 highlights from Shriners
LAS VEGAS – Kevin Na made the hole look like a bucket. Patrick Cantlay should perhaps buy Las Vegas property. Brooks Koepka revealed a bum knee that’s now fixed but spent his time dealing with rust while getting schooled by his little brother. Phil continues to lose weight; Bryson says he’s going to gain some. And a young amateur announced himself to the world. It was a big week at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
Welcome to the Monday Finish.
THREE KEYS TO SUCCESS
1. Na set a new putting record on the PGA TOUR on his way to victory. By making a ridiculous 558 feet, 11 inches worth of putts over 72 holes, Na is the new top dog from the ShotLink era (2003). Ben Martin held the previous record with 551 feet, 2 inches at the 2015 Charles Schwab Challenge. Na joined Johnson Wagner and Zac Blair as the only players to make 500 or more feet of putts in multiple events on TOUR (2009 Waste Management Phoenix Open, 2019 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open). He also set a PGA TOUR record (ShotLink era) for most Total Strokes Gained: Putting in an event (+14.263). The previous record was held by Kiradech Aphibarnrat (+14.044) at the 2019 AT&T Byron Nelson. Read more about his work on the greens here.
2. Na fed off a clear hometown advantage. As a local resident, Na had the benefit of the majority of the support in front a very healthy crowd. He also had his family in attendance, particularly his father who to this point had never seen him win live. When Na made triple bogey on the 10th to relinquish a healthy lead, the galleries urged him to rebound. And when he fell behind after a water ball on the 16th hole, they did the same. It kept Na focused after adversity and allowed him to stay in the mix.
3. He wanted to send Tiger a message. Na has never been on a U.S. team but he believes he would be a very valuable choice for Tiger Woods at the upcoming Presidents Cup in Royal Melbourne. With a month remaining before the picks, Na was a little annoyed that he was unable to put his name in lights last season despite winning the Charles Schwab Challenge. He figured a third win in 30 starts, and a second in the 2019 calendar year, might get the captain's attention. The manner of the win should. It will take some hot putting to tame Royal Melbourne in December.
Kevin Na's news conference after winning Shriners
Patrick Cantlay clearly is built for TPC Summerlin. In his three starts, he has been a winner and a runner-up twice. You have to believe the two-time PGA TOUR winner will win this tournament again in the future. All week he hit more drivers than anyone else thanks to the trust he has in his accuracy. Others lay back all over TPC Summerlin because they can do so and still have short irons. Cantlay went the driver–wedge route and almost rode it to victory. “Obviously it leaves a sour taste in my mouth. That's two years in a row here. I played well all week. I'll take that momentum the rest of the year,” he said.
Bryson DeChambeau always has us on our toes. The defending champion closed with a flourish on Sunday for a T4 finish before announcing he would be going into a break to bulk up and get bigger. It is not as if the five-time PGA TOUR winner isn’t already a decent size. But look out Brooks Koepka and company, a new gym rat is in town.
Kevin Na wasn’t the only player trying to make a Presidents Cup push in Las Vegas. Tony Finau went lights out in the third round before reminding Tiger Woods of his availability. On the International side, Adam Hadwin backed up his runner-up finish at the Safeway Open with a T4 finish in Vegas. Hadwin was on the International Team two years ago, and although the side was soundly beaten, he believes he could add value to Ernie Els’ team. “Presidents Cup is obviously still a big circle. Always has been. I felt as though having played a couple years ago, having had a decent season on TOUR, that if I could come out and play some decent golf I would at least get myself in the running,” Hadwin said. “It's nice to start the year here with two good events. Obviously we still got three or four weeks until he has to make a decision, but I feel like I've put myself in good spot right now.”
“I should have kissed it after I won. I'll give it a kiss when I get home.” – Kevin Na on his hot putter.
“I'm going to continue to eat better, eat less, work out more, just stay committed to it.” – Phil Mickelson on his new trim self.
“I was watching it on the screen as they were doing it and it was probably one of the most painful things. I was screaming when they did it.” – Brooks Koepka revealed he had stem cell therapy on his knee.
“Definitely exceeded my expectations. My goal at the start of the week was four really solid rounds. I think I did a little more than solid so I'm really happy right now.” – UNLV amateur Jack Trent who finished T29 on PGA TOUR debut with four rounds in the 60s.
Great week in Vegas at @shrinersopen, and a strong finish. Congrats to my buddy @kevinna915 on the win!— Bryson DeChambeau (@b_dechambeau) October 7, 2019
Thank you to Patrick Lindsey, his team, @shrinershospitals, volunteers, patients and fans for everything. Seeing the work Shriners does makes this a favorite for me every year pic.twitter.com/Dt68lLkDrd