Kevin Na jitters way into lead at Players Championship
Ponte Vedre Beach, FL, United States (AHN Sports) – Kevin Na looks like the most nervous golfer in the world standing over his ball.
He has a world of trouble getting the club away, he looks every part of a man with the jitters.
Na overcame those pre-shot problems Saturday and emerged as the third round leader at the Players Championship. He birdied the par five 16th then rolled a 10-footer into the hole for birdie at the difficult closing hole for a four-under par 68 that got him to 12-under par, 204.
He’s a shot in front of Matt Kuchar whose tee shot at the famous par three 17th found the water and cost him a share of the lead. He did manage to salvage a bogey there then made a good par save at the 18th to stay within a shot of Na.
“I’m fighting my balance over the ball,” Na said as he attempted to explain his problems getting the club away from the ball. “When I back off, I’m screaming at myself to pull the trigger. It’s a tough situation. I’m trying, it’s getting better.”
Na’s problems result in a slower than average pace of play and he was put on the clock for the last four holes by PGA Tour officials. Still, he has managed to break 70 all three days, a feat that only he and Kuchar have managed.
Kuchar hit his tee shot fat at the 17th and found the water, well short of the green. “I mis-hit it,” Kuchar admitted. “But I managed to make a bogey then save par at 18 and that was big. It’s tough. The course is hard. It will really be tough tomorrow (Sunday). It’s awesome to have this opportunity.”
Kuchar will play in the final group with Na and witness firsthand Na’s problems hitting the shots.
Rickie Fowler didn’t have many problems. He finished with a 66 and a misjudged putt from the fringe, only 12 feet from the hole cost him a bogey at 18th, his only bogey of the round. Fowler, winning last week for the first time on tour, played a near flawless round otherwise.
Ben Curtis and Zach Johnson will start the final round five shots off the lead. Curtis shot 70, Johnson had putting problems and struggled to finish at 73.
TIger Woods, who played a nice round on Friday, couldn’t make anything happen during his third round and finished with an even par effort of 72 that left him at two-under par, 10 shots back.