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The Tour Report

January 8 2012

5:10 PM

Na more accurate off the tee

By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM

KAPALUA, Hawaii -- Kevin Na was struggling off the tee last year when he arrived at Augusta National to play the Masters. That's when he met swing coach Dale Lynch.

Na liked what Lynch, a former Australian PGA player, had to say and began working part-time with him.

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This year, Na is hiring Lynch on a full-time basis. The dividends already seem to be paying off.

Na has hit 70 percent of his fairways through the first two rounds of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Last year, he hit 58 percent of his fairways, ranking him 142nd on the PGA TOUR.

Thanks in part to his accuracy off the tee, he'll start the third round in solo third place at 9 under after a remarkable eagle-eagle finish on Saturday in which he shot a 9-under 64. Na will tee off with Martin Laird in the penultimate group on Sunday.

"I always struggled with the driver," Na explained. "I was searching for something to do for me to drive it better.

"I mean, I'm not a long hitter, and I wasn't the straightest hitter. I felt like the rest I did pretty well, especially around the greens. Honestly, I was tired of driving it poorly."

Na said Lynch – who also works with players such as Geoff Ogilvy and Aaron Baddeley -- looked at his swing prior to the Masters and made some adjustments, specifically with his backswing.

"My backswing is totally in a different position," Na said. "Because I think my backswing is in a different position, I think my long game is getting better."

The Plantation Course's fairways are generously wide, but should Na maintain his improvement in that category, it could allow him to make some serious noise this year.