Kevin Na fired a final-round 64 at the Old White TPC Course to win A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier by five strokes.
Na entered Sunday just one back of co-leaders Kelly Kraft and Harold Varner III, but after a six-birdie binge on hole Nos. 4-10, the 34-year old Korean-American pulled ahead and never looked back. Na signed for a four-day score of 19-under par, five shots clear of Kraft who carded a final-day 70.
The win was Na’s second career PGA Tour victory, but first since he raised the trophy at the 2011 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
When asked how it felt to finally reach the winner’s circle again (breaking a 157-start dryspell), Na replied, “Oh, it’s indescribable. The amount of close calls I’ve had and disappointments I’ve had, walking off the 18th hole in the locker room, on the drive back to the hotel.
“I mean, a lot of heartbreaks, but today everything was going well. Everything was going my way, and it was nice to have that big lead going up to the last hole and enjoying the moment. It was well worth it.”
It sure was worth it, as Na earned $1,314,000 and 500 FedExCup points, which moves him from 58th to 18th in FedExCup standings – a prime position, as the Tour heads into the final stretch of the season.
“I always look at the FedExCup numbers. The goal is to get to the last tournament, the TOUR Championship. A win here, obviously, boosted me all the way to 18,” said Na.
“I’ve got to keep playing well, keep doing well in the playoffs, and maybe another W in the playoffs, and I could take the FedExCup home.”
Na also picked up 34 OWGR points, and will move from 65th to 41st in the Official World Golf Rankings.
Kraft, meanwhile, made his way around the Greenbrier’s TPC layout in even-par, with three bogeys offsetting three birdies, highlighted by a final gain on the par-3 18th hole to secure the runner-up spot for himself.
One further back was Brandt Snedeker, who shot a sizzling round of 64 on Sunday to leap into the third position alongside Jason Kokrak at 13-under par. It was Snedeker’s best finish of the season, as the 37-year old has struggled in his return from a 2017 injury that sidelined him for five months.
“It felt good to get back on the right side of things again. It’s been a tough year for me, just not playing up to where I think I’m capable of,” said Snedeker, who also posted a T6 at the FedEx St Jude Classic last month.
“Putting the work in, knowing I’m working as hard, if not harder, than I ever have. So I knew this was coming, it’s just hard to see the forest through the trees sometimes.
“So kind of got in my own way today. Had a really good kind of in-session last night practice and came out with a fresh attitude today and played really, really well. So I’m excited to build on this momentum for the rest of the year.”
Snedeker, Kraft and Kokrak earned three of the four available berths into the 2018 Open Championship.
The fourth ticket to Carnoustie went to Austin Cook (66), who finished T5, alongside Varner (72), Joaquin Niemann (65), Joel Dahmen (69), and Sam Saunders (70). Cook received the invite over the four he tied by virtue of holding a higher world ranking (99).
Russell Henley fired the day’s low round – a bogey-free 7-under 63 – to secure the all-important 10th position for himself. It was Henley’s second-straight top-10 finish (T6, Travelers Championship).
Bubba Watson posted a 2-over 72 Sunday to finish at 9-under 271 (T13), while defending champion Xander Schauffele signed for a 75 to finish T21 at 8-under par.
2018 A MILITARY TRIBUTE AT THE GREENBRIER
FINAL TOP 10 AT THE GREENBRIER
POS-PLAYER-FINAL SCORE (TODAY)
1. Kevin Na -19 (-6)
2. Kelly Kraft -14 (E)
3. Brandt Snedeker -13 (-6)
3. Jason Kokrak -13 (-3)
5. Austin Cook -12 (-4)
5. Harold Varner III -12 (+2)
5. Joaquin Niemann -12 (-5)
5. Joel Dahmen -12 (-1)
5. Sam Saunders -12 (E)
10. Russell Henley -11 (-7)
13. Ryan Moore -9 (+1)
13. Bubba Watson -9 (+2)
21. Tony Finau -8 (+1)
21. Xander Schauffele -8 (+5)
30. Charles Howell III -6 (E)
47. Jim Furyk -4 (+3)
47. Webb Simpson -4 (+2)
55. Kevin Kisner -3 (+1)
56. Brian Harman -2 (+2)
65. Phil Mickelson -1 (+4)
TOP-3 CASHERS AT THE GREENBRIER
1st – $1,314,000 (Na)
2nd – $788,400 (Kraft)
3rd – $423,400 (Snedeker)
3rd – $423,400 (Kokrak)
FINAL-ROUND HIGHLIGHTS: THE GREENBRIER
1. Webb Simpson -9 (61)
2. Whee Kim -8 (62)
3. Joaquin Niemann -7 (63)
64. Kevin Na -1 (69)
1. Kelly Kraft -13 (64-63)
2. Anirban Lahiri -12 (67-61)
2. Webb Simpson -12 (61-67)
8. Kevin Na -8 (69-63)
1. Harold Varner III -14 (66-64-66)
1. Kelly Kraft -14 (64-63-69)
3. Xander Schauffele -13 (66-66-65)
3. Kevin Na -13 (69-63-65)
KEVIN NA’S WINNING STATS
Driving: 323.2 yards (18th)
Fairways: 38/56, 67.9% (32nd)
Greens: 53/72, 73.6% (34th)
Putts Per GIR: 85/1.604 (1st)
Par-3 Scoring: +1 (1 Birdie, 10 Pars, 2 Bogeys)
Par-4 Scoring: -15 (19 Birdies, 25 Pars, 4 Bogeys)
Par-5 Scoring: -5 (1 Eagle, 3 Birdies, 5 Pars)
Aggregate Scoring: -19 (1 Eagle, 23 Birdies, 50 Pars, 6 Bogeys)
WITB: KEVIN NA’S WINNING EQUIPMENT
Na generally plays a full Titleist bag other than his two biggest sticks, preferring to go with the Callaway driver, and a TaylorMade 3. His fairway metal, irons, wedges, putter, and balls are all Titleist.
Driver: Callaway GBB Epic (9˚)
3-metal: TaylorMade M3 (15˚)
5-metal: Titleist 915F (18˚)
Irons: Titleist TMB (4), Titleist 718 AP2 (5-PW)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (54˚F), Vokey 2018 Tour Proto (60˚K)
Putter: Scotty Cameron Futura T5 MB
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
EXIT QUESTION: KEVIN NA
Q: You made an emotional heartfelt message there on CBS. Comment on what it means to win and do it for your Korean fans.
KEVIN NA: I’m an American, but of Korean decent. I call myself Korean American. And I speak both languages fluently. I have fans from both the U.S. and Korea, and I felt like I didn’t want to leave the Korean fans out.
Just a nice thank you to the Korean fans in Korea that are watching, and my brother actually commentate’s for the PGA TOUR, not a lot, but, you know, I think eight to ten tournaments a year. He used to do more, but I thanked him, and the SBS Golf that broadcasts in Korea, so I thanked them too.
LEADERBOARD: FINAL MONEY & SCORES
The Old White TPC, White Sulpher Springs, WV, July 8, 2018
Credit: PGA Tour, Getty Images, OWGR, Fastscripts | Copyright: Pro Golf Weekly