news 1 week ago

Na fires 62 to join four-way tie for PGA Las Vegas lead

AFP

Los Angeles (AFP) -

Kevin Na lit up the greens at TPC Summerlin on Friday, firing two eagles and six birdies in a nine-under par 62 to join a four-way tie for the lead in the US PGA Tour's Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

Na's luck was in in Las Vegas, a home event for the South Korean-born American who drained a string of long putts to head into the weekend on 12-under 130, tied with Brian Stuard, Patrick Cantlay and Lucas Glover.

Australian Matt Jones was alone on 131 after an eight-under par 63.

Na, who won the first of his three PGA Tour title in this event in 2011, set the tone for his round with a 57-foot birdie putt at the first hole. He rolled in a 44-footer for eagle at the 13th and a 35-footer from just off the green for eagle at 16 before making birdie at the last two holes with putts of 24 and 22 feet.

"I was comfortable over the putts," he said. "My speed was great. I did make a putt from off the green -- the speed was not great but the putt went in. I just felt comfortable.

"I know the greens can be a little bumpy in the afternoon. But I was able to get my roll on."

Stuard set the early pace with a six-under 65 that featured six birdies.

He was joined in the clubhouse by Cantlay, who again showed his mastery of the course with a 64 that included an eagle and six birdies with one bogey.

Cantlay lifted the Las Vegas trophy in 2017 and finished runner-up in 2018.

"Driving the ball in the fairway is really important," he said of his success at TPC Summerlin. "It's one of my strengths, so most of the tee shots out here look really comfortable to me.

"Leaves me lots of wedges, lots of opportunities for scoring,"

Despite the crowd at the top -- Glover joined the leading bunch with a bogey-free 63 that included an eagle and six birdies -- Cantlay was confident of his chances at the weekend.

"I'm ready," he said. "I like this place. Had a good track record here and feel comfortable."

- Koepka misses cut -

Defending champion Bryson DeChambeau couldn't say the same for much of the round as he struggled to build momentum. He was even for the day with three to play but finished with birdies at the seventh eighth and ninth to join a group four shots off the pace.

"I just can't get a normal round in," said DeChambeau, whose nine-footer at the seventh was his longest successful putt of the day. He holed out from a bunker at the eighth and got up and down for birdie from a bunker at his last.

There was no bravura ending for world number one Brooks Koepka, whose first tournament of the 2019-2020 season ended in a missed cut after an even par 71 for a one-under total of 141.

"I felt like I was very close," said four-time major winner Koepka, who revealed this week he'd had stem cell treatment on a left knee injury immediately after the Tour Championship in September.