Kevin Na was on an emotional brink when he secured his playoff victory at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open which were played in his hometown, Las Vegas. Shortly after his success, he delivered an emotional speech in his mother tongue to his native fans in Korea, thanking them for their support and that they always believed in him.
Kevin Na moved to the United States from Seoul where he was born, when he was a young boy of eight years old. He played on the Asian Tour, and in 2002 he won the Volvo Masters of Asia. Na was also playing in the European Tour and the PGA Tour during 2004. During the next couple of years, his successes weren’t great. He landed the third position in the Southern Farm Bureau Classic, fourth in the Honda Classic and 2005 he came in second place at the world-renowned FBR Open and Chrysler Classic of Tucson.
His career was somewhat held back due to first a hand injury and then a back injury. In 2011 he won his first PGA Tour after attempting it 211 times. He earned $792 000 in prize money after being on tour for eight days. After this victory, the 36-year-old Korean had almost seven years with no great success. Then last summer he had won at The Greenbrier and during early this year, he was victorious once again at Colonial. He was thus making this victory the third in a relatively short period for him.
The Open in Las Vegas
It was an exciting series of events as Na’s position wasn’t so great after losing his three-shot lead during the back nine. Then he made up with a clutch par putt when playing the 17th hole and ended up winning the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
At the 10th hole, Na made a triple bogey and then on the 16th he hit the waterhole on a par five and that made him lose his lead for the first time during the day when he hit a bogey. On the 17th hole, he managed a 25-foot par putt again which brought him back into a tie position with Cantlay whose ball landed in the water. On the 18th hole, he matched a birdie putt from Cantlay.
This day was a day riddled with mistakes, but the worse was made by Cantlay delivering three-putt from 45 feet and another one from inside 6 feet territory. Na closed 1-under 70, and when his four-foot par rolled in, he lifted his arms victoriously. Na’s victory made Cantlay the runner-up for the second time in a row in Las Vegas. Even though Cantlay reaped the benefits from mistakes that Na made, he made too many himself and Na gained the victory. Cantlay finished with a deficit of three shots, and he closed on 68 in the Open which was his first PGA victory three years ago.