Kevin Na had an interesting 18th hole today, including an argument with his caddy, on the way to an incredible 90 foot chip shot for a birdie and the first round lead at the Fort Worth Invitational.
Na’s birdie on the last hole gave him a 62, a tie for the lowest opening round in the history of the Fort Worth Invitational.
Na was in the rough trying to decide which club was best for hitting what he described as a “40 foot hook” he would need to reach the 18th green.
“Where I dropped it there was a huge ridge that’s going right through the middle, and I had to play up so high. Goes up and down, and before I hit the chip I see Martin Lair’s caddie take the bag behind the green and move it, because I can chip it over the green right down the other side”, said Na.
“I looked at that and I go, Yeah, that can happen. (Laughter.) I just hit a perfect chip. I saw it go over the ridge and I was like, This is going to be good. It’s going to be close. Then it catches the right lip and goes in. I was like, Oh, my God.”
IT'S IN! A chip-in birdie to finish a bogey-free round of 62!
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 24, 2018
When asked about the discussion or what seemed like an argument with his caddy,to the gallery, Na said,
“Yeah, it was in the rough, but it was kind of in a bare spot where I felt like I can curb the ball. I had probably at least a 50-yard slice. It was like 180 — I don’t even remember the number, mid-180s.
I pulled out 4-iron trying to hit a 50-yard cut slightly into the wind. Not much. My caddie looks at me and goes, What are you doing? Going to hit it high and round. He goes, You got to hit an 80-yard cut. No, I’m going partly over that tree and it’s only 50 yards. I think I can do it.
He goes, Well, short is dead. Obviously water. So I grabbed one more club. He goes, Well, long is dead. Great. I go, What do you think? He goes, I don’t like it.
That’s when I pulled one more club. I go, Do you like this? He goes, No. I said, Well, I’m going. Move, said Na (laughing).
Kevin Na went with his gut on this seemingly impossible shot …
and it paid off! 💯💯💯 pic.twitter.com/UaVrbKEQNe
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 25, 2018
Na is no stranger to the lead at this historic tournament on the PGA Tour. Three of Na’s six career 18-hole leads/co-leads have come at the Fort Worth Invitational, yet he has never converted those leads to a win.
His only win on the PGA Tour was the 2011 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
Na’s best finishes this year are T2/Genesis Open, T6/AT&T Byron Nelson.
He is currently ranked 75th in the Official World Golf Rankings.
Na is 7/7 scrambling and entered the week leading the TOUR in SG: Around-the-Green (.704).
In second place is Charley Hoffman with a bogey-free 63. This is his lowest score since the 2015 Dell Technologies Championship (63/R2, finished 3rd). Hoffman is 9 for 9 in cuts made at the Fort Worth Invitational.
Hoffman shared his strategy for the week; “Just more of the same. You’re not going to hit 17 greens every single day, so just hit some greens, make some putts, and try to keep that card clean as long as I can”, said Hoffman
Four players are tied for third at 6-under par; Emiliano Grillo, Jhonattan Vegas,Andrew Putnam, and Beau Hossler.
Emiliano Grillo (T3) • Making third start at Fort Worth Invitational (T24/2017, T55/2016) • Four top-10s in 15 starts in 2017-18 • Has not missed a cut in an individual stroke-play event in 2017-18 (MC/Zurich Classic of New Orleans)
Jhonattan Vegas (T3) • One made cut in three previous starts at Fort Worth Invitational (T53/2015) • Made four consecutive birdies on Nos. 4-7 to match his best streak of 2017-18 (R3/CIMB Classic) • Best 2017-18 result: T7/Sentry Tournament of Champions
Beau Hossler (T3) • Tied career-low with 64; fourth instance and second consecutive (R4/AT&T Byron Nelson) • Has three top-10s and six top-25s in 2017-18; lost to Ian Poulter in a playoff at the Houston Open • 20 of last 25 rounds are under-par, dating back to a first-round 65 at the Houston Open • Missed the cut in his only previous start at the Fort Worth Invitational (2017)
Steve Stricker (7th) • Winner of 2009 Fort Worth Invitational and finished T7 in 2017 • Matched low score of 2017-18 season (65/R2/AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am) • Entered the week with a first-round scoring average of 68.20; Patrick Cantlay leads the PGA TOUR with an average of 68.40 (Stricker has not met the minimum number of rounds to be officially ranked) • Holed out from the bunker for an eagle-3 at the par-5 first.
Satoshi Kodaira (T8) • Made an albatross at the par-5 first (3-iron, 234 yards), the second of the 2017-18 season (Brooks Koepka, No. 16/R4/THE PLAYERS Championship) and second in the history of the Fort Worth Invitational (George Burns, No. 1/1978) • Fort Worth Invitational debut • Making his 18th career start on the PGA TOUR and ninth of the 2017-18 season • Became a PGA TOUR member following his win at the 2018 RBC Heritage
🚨 ALBATROSS alert! 🚨
Satoshi Kodaira holed out for a 2 on the par-5 first hole with a 3-iron from 234 yards!
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 24, 2018
Jordan Spieth (T44) • Has finished no worse than T14 in five starts at Fort Worth Invitational (T2/2017, Won/2016, T2/2015, T14/2014, T7/2013) • Spieth’s 2017-18 scoring averages by round entering the week R1: 71.18 (118th on TOUR) R2: 68.45 (2nd) R3: 69.11 (14th) R4: 68.22 (1st)
Bogey-free rounds R1: Kevin Na (62), Charley Hoffman (63), Beau Hossler (64), Tim Herron (66), Ben Martin (66), Louis Oosthuizen (67), Derek Fathauer (67), Richy Werenski (68)
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