Kevin Na is one of the hottest golfers on tour, having now won three times in his past 30 starts. But the eventual path to victory at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open was worthy of the kinds of turn of fortune so often seen in the city where the tournament is held: Las Vegas.
Seemingly in control as he made the turn for the final nine, Na triple-bogeyed the par-4 10th. Birdies on 12, 13 and 15, however, helped keep Patrick Cantlay at bay. Then on the par-5 16th, Na bogeyed while Cantlay birdied, leaving him a stroke in arrears. On the par-3 17th, Cantlay found the water and made bogey while Na converted a 23-footer for par to tie things up. Na – who’d lost his three previous playoffs – eventually won on the second playoff hole after Cantlay missed a short par putt after the pair matched birdies on the first hole of overtime.
That the biggest shots of the tournament were made with Na’s putter was only fitting. Na made a PGA Tour record 556 feet, 7 inches of putts over the four rounds. His strokes gained/putting mark for the week was an almost unheard of 14.516 strokes better than the field. When your strokes gained/total for the week is 14.144 it’s easy to see where Na picked up ground, especially considering he ranked 46th in greens in regulation for the week.
Na’s putter is an Odyssey Toulon Madison with a “Rose Gold” finish. The slant-neck hosel blade measures 35 inches in length and has just 2.25 degrees of loft. The same putter he used earlier this year to win the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club, the club features flowing bumpers that melt into the back flange while the deep cross-hatch grooves on the face control sound and feel by channelling vibration.
“I’m just hitting a lot of confident strokes with good putts and the percentage is just high,” Na said after the third round. “When you hit good putts at a good speed you’re using the whole hole… Look, you need some luck to have some putts lip in here and there, and I’ve been getting a little bit of that.”
A little bit of luck? In Las Vegas? When you’re on a hot streak such as Na’s, luck is on your side – even in Sin City.
What Kevin Na had in the bag at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open:
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Driver: Callaway Great Big Bertha Epic (Graphite Design Tour AD GP 6-TX), 9 degrees
3-wood: Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero, 13.5 degrees
Hybrid: PXG 0317X Gen2, 18 degrees
Irons (4): Callaway Rogue Pro; (5-PW): Callaway Apex Pro 16
Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy 4 (50, 54 degrees); Titleist Vokey prototype (60 degrees)
Putter: Odyssey Toulon Madison