After nearly seven years of waiting, Kevin Na is finally back in the winner’s circle on the PGA Tour. Here’s how things ended up at The Greenbrier, where Na came from behind with a closing 64 to win by five shots:
Leaderboard: Kevin Na (-19), Kelly Kraft (-14), Brandt Snedeker (-13), Jason Kokrak (-13)
What it means: Na started the day one shot off the lead in search of his first win since the 2011 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. When co-leaders Kraft and Harold Varner III faltered, Na took command with a series of early birdies that gave him an advantage heading into the back nine. He cruised from there, and after six runner-up finishes since his maiden victory he finally has his hands on trophy No. 2.
Round of the day: Na surged to the top of the leaderboard thanks to a run of six birdies in a seven-hole stretch from Nos. 4-9. Included among that barrage were makes from 32 feet on No. 6, 43 feet on No. 8 and 24 feet on No. 10, as the veteran played the rest of his round in even par but still signed for a 6-under 64 that left the field in his dust.
Best of the rest: Snedeker struggled with injury for much of last year, but he’s now heading to Carnoustie after a closing 64 gave him a share of third place. Snedeker carded eight birdies, including four over his final seven holes to earn his first top-5 finish in nearly 18 months and headline the group of four Open qualifiers from this week’s Tour event.
Biggest disappointment: Defending champ Xander Schauffele appeared to have a great chance to go back-to-back, but playing alongside Na he never got anything going. Schauffele made five straight bogeys on Nos. 2-6 while Na poured in putt after putt, and he eventually tied for 21st after a 75. Sam Saunders may need a mention here as well, given he bogeyed Nos. 16 and 17 to barely miss out on his first career Open appearance.
Shot of the day: With Kraft picking up pace behind him and the pressure ratcheting up a notch, Na rolled in a 5-footer for par on No. 13 that maintained what at that time was a three-shot lead. No one got any closer the rest of the way.
Quote of the day: “When I won the first time, it took eight years to win and I told everyone it wouldn’t take eight years to get the next one. It didn’t take eight years, it took seven.” – Na