Kevin Na has one-shot lead in The Players Championship

Players frontrunner battles uncertainty

  • Follow Golf

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Kevin Na is slow to pull the trigger, and quick to make fun of himself.

Kevin Na shot 4-under-par 68 on Saturday and has a one-shot lead over Matt Kuchar, a former Georgia Tech golfer.  CHRIS O'MEARA/ASSOCIATED PRESS
CHRIS O'MEARA/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Kevin Na shot 4-under-par 68 on Saturday and has a one-shot lead over Matt Kuchar, a former Georgia Tech golfer.

In what made for painful viewing Saturday in The Players Champion­ship – for fans at the TPC Sawgrass and those watching from home – Na took hundreds of waggles as he set up over the ball, backed off the shot if he didn’t feel comfortable and a couple of times purposely missed so he could start over.

The only number that mattered was 4-under-par 68, one of only three bogey-free rounds on a dangerous course. Backing off only once in the 18th fairway, he hit his approach to 15 feet and made it for birdie and took a one-shot lead over Matt Kuchar (69) going into the final round.

“There’s so much on the line that I just have to sometimes back off,” Na said. “Or I’ll force myself to take it back, and on the way down I’ll pull up and go over the top (of the ball). As ugly as it is, and as painful as it is, believe me, it’s really tough for me. And I’m trying.”

Kuchar had the lead until hitting wedge into the water at the island-green 17th and escaping with bogey, and he saved par from the rough-
covered moguls to the right of the 18th green. He had one stretch of eight holes without a par, making six birdies and a bogey.

Rickie Fowler, coming off his first PGA Tour win last week at Quail Hollow, had the best score of the third round with 66 and was two shots behind.

Na, playing with Zach Johnson, was on the clock throughout the back nine, and he was given a bad time on the 16th hole. He made an unsuccessful appeal, claiming he went over the allotted time because his caddie’s shadow was in the way.

Na is not oblivious to how bad it looks, how slow he plays or the reaction from all corners.

“Trust me, I get ripped a lot,” he said. “I know TV, Twitter and fans are tired of me backing off. I understand people being frustrated with me backing off, but all I can tell you guys is honestly, I’m trying.”

LOCAL INTEREST

BLAKE ADAMS Swainsboro, Ga.

Score/Shots back 66-73-72/7

BRIAN GAY Louisville, Ga.*

Score/Shots back 71-72-71/10

* former resident

Comments (0) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
kiwiinamerica
924
Points
kiwiinamerica 05/13/12 - 12:32 pm
0
0
Isn't this the guy who made a
Unpublished

Isn't this the guy who made a 16 on a par 4, a couple of summers back? I think he holds the PGA record for that dubious effort.

The article is correct. Watching Na play golf makes you twitchy and irritable. You just want to shout "hit it!!" as he makes so many practice swings.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Board rejects fine arts charter school

Organizers behind a proposed fine arts charter school in Columbia County said they are optimistic state officials will approve their plan to open a school in 2015 - a plan that was unanimously ...
Search Augusta jobs