Low 60s become a habit for Na at Colonial
May 24, 2019
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
- Kevin Na has five rounds of 62 or better since 2015, including three at Colonial. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
FORT WORTH, Texas – Kevin Na counts Colonial Country Club as one of his top-three favorite courses on the PGA TOUR, along with Riviera (the “other” Hogan’s Alley) and Hilton Head (the “other” plaid jacket venue).
Colonial, in fact, is one of a handful of courses on which Na – who must rely on shot-making rather than length -- feels like he can legitimately contend.
“I say seven or eight,” Na said. “Some golf courses I feel like I have no chance. I don’t play those unless it’s a major and I got no choice.
“I won’t mention any names.”
So we will. For instance, Bethpage Black, which hosted last week’s PGA Championship?
“I’m not going to say anything,” Na smiled. “You can look up my record. It’s not good.”
For the record, Na has played three events at Bethpage Black – the PGA and two FedExCup Playoffs events. He’s missed the cut each time.
Unlike Bethpage, Na’s record is pretty good at the Charles Schwab Challenge. In his last 11 starts, he’s made 10 cuts and has four top-10 finishes – his best being a solo fourth last year. Three of his last six rounds at Colonial have been among the most impressive of his PGA TOUR career.
It was in the first round a year ago that Na shot 62, tying for the lowest opening score in tournament history.
On that Sunday, he tied the tournament record with a 61 – the lowest score of his career.
Now this week. After opening with an even-par 70 in difficult afternoon scoring conditions, Na again torched Colonial on Friday – a bogey-free 62 that left him at 8 under, just one shot behind leader Jonas Blixt.
Na now has five rounds of 62 or better since 2015, and three of those have been at Colonial.
“Last year when I shot 61, I felt like I made everything,” Na said. “Kind of almost had that feeling today. With a few holes to go, I felt like I had a chance to challenge my own course record.”
Na made 164 feet, 1 inch of putts on Friday, but he needed less than 3 feet on his opening hole of the day. Na’s second shot at the par-5 first finished inside 3 feet, leaving him with an easy eagle putt.
From there, he relied on the flatstick. A 14-foot birdie putt at the third. A 31-footer at the sixth. A 38-1/2 footer at the ninth. And another 31-footer at the 13th.
Na entered this week ranked 129th on TOUR in Strokes Gained: Putting, but you wouldn’t know it this week. His birdie putt from 36 feet late in Thursday’s opening round was a foreshadow of his Friday performance.
“Golf seems a lot more fun and a lot easier when you’re making putts,” Na said.
It also seems a lot more fun when you’re playing on a course you like. Last year after his low rounds, Na did his interviews while attending to his young daughter Sophia.
He kept the tradition going Friday.
“She’s my good-luck charm,” Na said.