Shriners Hospitals for Children Open Preview, Picks & Analysis
Kevin Na defends his Shriners Hospitals for Children Open title at TPC Summerlin but all eyes will be on 2018 champion Bryson DeChambeau after his sensational victory in the US Open at Winged Foot - a golf course he wasn’t supposed to be able to triumph at.
DeChambeau has, of course, changed the face of golf forever and could not play the game in a more different manner to Na, who is one of the shortest hitters on the PGA Tour. What both men have in common, of course, is that they are both painfully slow. But that is a different debate altogether.
Last year, Na lost a three-shot lead on the back nine, holed a clutch par putt on the 17th hole and won in a playoff when Patrick Cantlay three-putted the second extra hole. Leading by three going to the back nine, Na dropped three shots at the 10th. Then, he hit his ball into the water on the par-five 16th and lost the lead for the first time.
But he drained a 25-foot par putt on the 17th hole to tie for the lead after Cantlay found the water, and he matched Cantlay's birdie putt on the 18th on the first extra hole. A day of mistakes ended with a three-putt from Cantlay from 45 feet, the second one from just inside six feet.
Na, who closed with a one-under 70, rolled in his four-foot par putt and raised his arms in celebration. It was his third victory in 15 months, and he joined Jim Furyk as the only multiple winners in Las Vegas. "It came down way to close," Na said.
Cantlay was runner-up for the second straight year in Las Vegas, where he earned his first PGA Tour victory three years ago. He two-putted the par-5 16th from 40 feet for a one-shot lead after Na hit into the water and made bogey. But on the next hole, Cantlay came up short and ended up in the water. He got up-and-down for bogey and looked as if he would keep his lead when Na went into a bunker and had such a perilous shot that he chose to play away from the flag to keep it out of the water. But he made the 25-footer for par.
On the closing hole, Cantlay hit the longest drive of the final round - 345 yards - and had only 113 yards left. But he could get no closer than 25 feet, and his putt hung on the right edge of the putt. Cantlay, trying to win for the third time when facing a deficit of at least three shots, closed with a 68. They finished at 23-under 261.
On the first extra hole, Na hit a wedge to just inside 10 feet. Cantlay was just outside 10 feet - on the same line as his 25-foot birdie chance in regulation - and made the putt. Na holed his, walking toward the hole before the ball dropped. Cantlay came up well short on his approach to the 18th on the second playoff hole - his third time playing it in less than an hour - and his birdie putt came up well short.
Na set a record by making 559 feet of putts over four rounds, the most since the PGA Tour developed its ShotLink system of measuring every shot of every player. And he won with a four-foot par. Pat Perez closed with a 68 to finish alone in third, his best finish since he won in Malaysia two years ago. Defending champion Bryson DeChambeau shot 63 and tied for fourth with Adam Hadwin (63) and Brian Stuard (67).
Established in 1983, the tournament is held at TPC Summerlin, which is regarded as one of the best courses in the USA, and has a prize fund of $7m. It was won in 2015 by Smylie Kaufman, in 2016 by Rod Pampling, in 2017 by Patrick Cantlay, in 2018 by Bryson De Chambeau and last year by Kevin Na.
Bryson DeChambeau. A monster
Matthew Wolff. Does it his own way
Bryson DeChambeau. Loves this course
Matthew Wolff. A big-time player
Sergio Garcia. Good to see him back in form
Tony Finau. The American needs to win
Cameron Champ. Incredible physical specimen
Kevin Na. Will return with great memories
Abraham Ancer. A top-10 machine
Max Homa. Beautiful golf swing
Collin Morikawa. A superstar
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