It was not fairly Stewart Cink over Tom Watson on the 2009 Open Championship, nonetheless Kevin Na’s Sony Open win over Chris Kirk (and Joaquin Niemann) had related vibes. With a birdie on the final phrase phrase phrase gap, Na gained for the fifth time on the PGA Tour and the fourth season in a row (turning right correct applicable right correct proper right into a member of solely Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau as avid avid avid avid gamers who’ve achieved that feat).
Kirk’s story of coming all one among many best strategies all by which as shortly as farther from an prolonged break from the PGA Tour and battling for his first win in 5 years was fascinating, nonetheless he walked away with the good comfort prize of an prolonged PGA Tour card and the prospect to complete out the season after a complete lot darkness over the previous few years (additional on him beneath). And whereas which may have been a feel-good story to start out 2021, Na’s story is compelling as efficiently.
Buoyed by a 61 on Saturday to run all one among many best strategies all by which up the leaderboard, Na closed with 4 birdies in his closing six holes — together with an up-and-down birdie on the final phrase phrase phrase — to beat Kirk and Niemann by one. Terribly, after worthwhile one time in his first 364 PGA Tour occasions, he is now gained 4 circumstances in his closing 55 occasions.
“All these experiences — having pleasurable with 18 years on the PGA Tour — are paying off right now,” he instructed Golf Channel about closing down the stretch. “I bought out correct associated right correct applicable right correct proper right here so youthful, it took me endlessly to win and it took me endlessly to validate. I am so completely glad at residence, and that is displaying up on the golf course after I’m having pleasurable with out correct associated right correct applicable right correct proper right here.”
Na is additional susceptible to be an attention-grabbing participant to take care of to this yr. The subsequent step for him is clearly contending in a extreme championship — he has not completed all by the prime 15 at one since 2016 — and vying for a spot on the Ryder Cup group. His choice wouldn’t bode efficiently for the sooner nonetheless it completely would possibly for the latter. Usually not most undoubtedly the best ball-striker on the PGA Tour, he actually completed third from tee to inexperienced at Waialae Nation Membership, which is a fast monitor that matches his skillset elevated than most. Whether or not or not or not or not or not or not or not or not or not any of that is foreshadowing for what’s to return in 2021 stays to be seen.
What’s assured is substantial quantity of the charismatic and attention-grabbing avid avid avid avid gamers (and careers) on the PGA Tour reached a landmark fifth win for his occupation. It is a quantity solely a minuscule proportion of execs even attain, and Na has an excessive amount of runway for the following 5 or so years so as in order so as in order so as in order so as in order so as to add to it. Which will ought to return on tracks like Colonial and Waialae (web net web net web net web page of two of his closing three wins), nonetheless I am guessing Na would not care the place they arrive, solely what number of additional there are. Grade: A+
Listed beneath are the remainder of our grades for the Sony Open.
Chris Kirk (T2): His struggles with alcoholism are well-documented nonetheless value revisiting. Kirk was briefly the clubhouse chief after ending at 20 beneath nonetheless lastly bought bumped. Nonetheless, every a two-way tie for third or a six-way tie for second would have allowed him to take care of his PGA Tour card as he was having pleasurable with on a extreme medical exemption. After two bogeys in his first three holes, he carried out his closing 13 in 7 beneath. An unbelievable end and an excellent elevated story. Grade: A+
Joaquin Niemann (T2): Niemann went back-to-back on runner-up finishes in Hawaii, which is additional susceptible to be irritating nonetheless together with fairly unbelievable and an indication for me of what this yr holds for him. He didn’t have his most fascinating stuff on Sunday nonetheless chipped in on the very finish on the 17th gap and made birdie on the final phrase phrase phrase to fall one quick. It was a formidable cap to anyone who, regardless of not holding a trophy in Hawaii, was undoubtedly the winner of the Hawaii swing. Grade: A+
Webb Simpson (T4): It appeared as if Simpson bought knocked out of rivalry pretty just some circumstances, nonetheless he saved bouncing as shortly as additional attributable to a putter that won’t miss. He clearly was not his widespread self on methodology footage — he was barely optimistic strokes gained there and hit some puzzling ones all by the week — nonetheless he made up for it elsewhere and notched a second consecutive prime 10 at Waialae. Grade: A
Daniel Berger (T7): An absolute top-10 machine. Berger now has 9 of them in his closing 17 begins on the PGA Tour. He solely had one mediocre day (a 68 on Friday when the scoring frequent was 68.5) — which saved him from the win — nonetheless he is been producing like a top-15 participant on the earth for nearly a yr now. Grade: A
Collin Morikawa (T7): He backed up a sturdy begin in the long run week’s Event of Champions with one completely utterly completely completely utterly utterly totally different good displaying this week that included a most necessary 10 the place he led the sphere in methodology footage. Two doubles all by the week unraveled his prospects of worthwhile for the fourth time on the PGA Tour, nonetheless his one-two begin to 2021 is encouraging following a tepid ending to 2020. Grade: A
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