Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
Las Vegas, Nevada
Winner: Kevin Na

If one were to ask Kevin Na for the key to his victory in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, he might be tempted to just throw a dart at the scoreboard. Perhaps his two eagles in four holes in the second round. Or maybe his 61 in the third. Or surviving his amazing hazard-free triple bogey in the fourth.

Technically, Na won with a par on the second playoff hole against Patrick Cantlay’s three-putt bogey. The impetus for his win might have come from anywhere in a week when the field feasted on TPC Summerlin. But Na’s secret: A magic putter that scorched the par-71 paradise. Na shot 68-62-61-70, only to be caught down the stretch by Cantlay (66-64-63-68) and tied at 23-under 261. Pat Perez finished third, two behind. “It came down way too close,” said Na, who was leading by three heading into the final nine.

Na trailed by five on his opening 68, then surfaced in a crowd in the second round with his 62, tying for the lead with Lucas Glover (63), Brian Stuard (65) and Cantlay (64). “My putter was hot,” Na said, in a masterpiece of understatement. “I started with a 60-footer on the first hole.” He holed from seven feet at the fifth, 17 at No. 7, and two-putted from 65 at No. 9.

He eagled the two par-fives coming in, the 13th from 44 feet, the 16th from 35, then birdied the last two from 24 and 22 feet. His explanation? “I felt confident over the putt,” Na said.
Then he matched his career-low with a flawless 61 in the third round, atop six scores at 63 or better. His putter was still crackling. Three of his 10 birdies were from about eight feet, and six others ranged from 12 to 30, and there was one two-putt. Cantlay, meanwhile, was no slouch. He made six birdies on the front nine — three from six to eight feet, three from three.

He shot 63 and was two behind Na, who set the tournament’s 54-hole record at 22-under 191. No. 10, a par-four of 425 yards, was the sudden equalizer. Na had already bogeyed it twice, but came to his final visit with a three-stroke lead. Then came the crash. It was a weekender’s triple bogey — on in four and three putts for the seven. Cantlay bogeyed it. Then he birdied four out of five holes from the 12th, taking the lead after Na bogeyed the 16th out of the water. But Cantlay bogeyed the 17th, also out of the water, and Na caught him with a par. They parred the 18th and tied at 23 under. In the playoff at 18, they matched birdies the first time. The second, Cantlay three-putted for bogey but Na holed his four-footer for par and the win.

No sour grapes from Cantlay. But a wry observation. “I hit a lot of putts that I thought were going to go in today,” he said, “and didn’t.” All told, Na set a tour record, making 559 feet of putts over four rounds, then said of his putter: “I should have kissed it after I won.”


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