Mo Yoshimoto

The Takeaway

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Kevin Na wins Greenbrier by 5

Monday, July 9, 2018

A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier

White Sulphur Springs, WV



Playing out of the penultimate twosome and beginning one shot back, World No. 65 Kevin Na tossed up a 6-under-par 29-35=64 in Sunday’s final round at The Old White TPC for a 72-hole tally of 19-under 261, good for a five-shot win over 54-hole co-leader and runner-up Kelly Kraft (70) and six clear of 3rd-place finishers Brandt Snedeker (64) and Jason Kokrak (67).



The 34-year-old, a pre-tourney 45/1 outright, claims his second PGA TOUR title in 370 events, joining the 2011 Shriners – in his adopted hometown of Las Vegas – 6 years, 9 months and 159 starts ago (as a 54-hole co-leader). 


The win comes in his 19th start of the season, is a fifth top 25 and fourth top 10. The South Korean-born American eclipses a previous-best T2 at the Genesis back in February, which was his 17th career 2nd- or 3rd-place finish.


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Joaquin Niemann (64), Austin Cook (66), Joel Dahmen (69), Sam Saunders (70) and 54-hole co-leader Harold Varner III (72) shared 5th place, seven adrift.



Na began the day in a two-way T3 with defender and playing competitor Xander Schauffele and beat him by 11 shots.


FUN FACT: Schauffele hit the first tee shot out of penultimate pairing on Sunday which was the exact spot he was in last year – and same position (T3). Last year: 3-under 67, won by 1. This year: 5-over 75; finished T21 (66-66-65-75).


FUN FACT: Schauffele won last year as a pre-tourney 40/1 outright and was five back thru 36 holes with seven players between him and the midpoint leader. Na, (45/1) was five back thru 36 holes this year with seven players between him and the midpoint leader (Kraft).





After kicking off with 69-63-65, Na trailed first-time 54-hole leaders Kraft and Varner III. He hit 10 (of 14) fairways and 13 greens in regulation, gaining 1.533 strokes around-the-green and 2.548 tee-to-green. Na squared a lone bogey-5 at 11, outflanked by seven circles, including a pair of hat-tricks at 4-6 and 8-10. His split featured three conversions from between 23 and 43 feet, posting 1.462 putts per GIR and 3.608 SG: Putting with 24 total putts.


For the week, Na tallied one eagle and 23 birdies (T1 in birdies), versus six bogeys. He ranked No. 1 in putts per GIR (1.604), Total Putts (106) and Par-4 Scoring (3.69), and 2nd in SG: Putting (7.089). See his full stats at the bottom.


With the win, Na reaps a host of exemptions, including the 2018 PGA Championship, 2018 WGC-Bridgestone and 2019 Sentry TOC. He was already exempt into The Open Championship in two weeks.


2018 Open (Carnoustie) exemptions earned this week: Kelly Kraft (finished 2nd); Brandt Snedeker (T3); Jason Kokrak (T3); Austin Cook (T5).


This was Na’s fifth Greenbrier, first since T32 in 2015, second top 25 and second top 10 (T7/2012). His scoring average on the par-70 layout is 67.50 with 14 red numbers in 20 laps, six at 65 or better. His worst round is 1-over 71 (three times).





Key Stretches:



Varner III: first 54-hole lead/co-lead in 85th event and first lead/co-lead after ANY round. Hole 1: missed fairway, missed GIR, bogey-5 (one back of Kraft). Birdie-2 at 3 from 34 inches (co-lead). 3-putt bogey-5 at 9 (from 43’0”), now T3 and five back of Na. TURN: 1-over 35. Missed par-saver at 11 from 46 inches, now 2-over on the day and six back of Na (T7). Birdie-4 at 12 from 13’7”, now 13-under, five back of Na (T3). Tee ball OB at the par-4 13th, double bogey-6. DONE.


Kraft: first time in the top 10 thru 54 holes in 13 starts (T7, 2018 Valspar; finished T31), and first 54-hole lead/co-lead in 85th event (83 pro). Prior to this week, had not led/co-led after ANY round this season (24 prior starts). Three routine pars to start. 3-putt bogey-5 at 4 (from 36’9”), now solo 3rd, two back of leader Na (-15). Birdie-3 at 5 (T2), two back of Na, one group ahead. TURN: even-par 34 (1 birdie, 1 bogey), now four back of Na in solo 2nd. Birdie-3 at 11 from 9’7”, now three back of Na. 3-putt bogey-5 at 14 (from 40’4”), level-par for the day and four back of Na. DONE.


Na: tied lead on 14-under (Kraft, V III) with birdie-3 at 4 from 5’0”. Went back to back at 5 from 10’10”, new leader by one (over V III). Added third straight at 6 from 32’7”, now leads Kraft, V III by two. Birdie-2 at 8 from 43’0”, now three clear of V III, Kraft. Birdie-3 at 9 from 21 inches after approach from 101 yards. Now 18-under total and four clear of V III, Kraft: TURN: bogey-free, 5-under 29. Birdie-3 at 10 from 23’9”, his second hat trick of the day, now five clear of Kraft. Missed par-saver at 11 from 10’5”, first (lone) bogey, now 18-under, four clear of Kraft. Birdie-3 at 16 from 9’4”, 6-under on the day and five clear with two to play. GAME OVER.





Na's Wins by Season:



  • 2018: 1 (15th season on TOUR)
  • 2017: 0
  • 2016: 0
  • 2015: 0
  • 2014: 0
  • 2013: 0
  • 2012: 0
  • 2011: 1 (Shriners); 8th season
  • 2010: 0
  • 2009: 0
  • 2008: 0
  • 2007: 0
  • 2006: 0
  • 2005: 0
  • 2004: 0



FUN FACT: Na has nine career runner-up finishes, including three playoff losses, most recently the 2016 Open. His playoff record is 0-3.




Na’s Career:



Starts: 370

Cuts Made: 251 (67.8%)

WDs: 15 (4.0%)


Top 25s: 124 (33.5%)

Top 10s: 65 (17.5%)

Top 3s: 19 (5.1%)

Wins: 2 (0.54%)




Na’s Season:



Starts: 19  

Cuts Made: 14


Top 25s: 5

Top 10s: 4

Top 5s: 3

Wins: 1



Season Form: 1-64-MC-4-6-46-MC-MC-MC


FedExCup: 18th (UP 40)

OWGR: 41st (UP 24)



FUN FACT: Na arrived off a T64 at last week’s Quicken Loans. He’s the 25th straight winner this season with either 0 or 1 week off prior to their wins. In total, 31 (of 36) event winners fall into this category. #NoLongLayoffsPlease







21 (of 36) winners this season had a top-25 finish the start prior (58.3%):

Na? No: T64 (Quicken Loans)






11 (of 36) winners this season had a top-10 finish the start prior (30.5%)

Na? No: T64 (Quicken Loans)



FUN FACT: Na snuck in an international start the week prior to the Quicken Loans, finishing T5 at the Korea Open.


Worldwide Form: 1-64-5-MC-4-6





Final Leaderboard (pre-tourney odds outright):



1-                     (-19) Kevin Na (45/1)

2-                     (-14) Kelly Kraft (150/1)

T3-                   (-13) Brandt Snedeker (45/1)

T3-                   (-13) Jason Kokrak (125/1)


T5-                   (-12) Joaquin Niemann (25/1)

T5-                   (-12) Austin Cook (66/1)

T5-                   (-12) Joel Dahmen (100/1)

T5-                   (-12) Sam Saunders (250/1)

T5-                   (-12) Harold Varner III (150/1)





Field Scoring Average:



This was the 8th Greenbrier with all eight contested on The Old White TPC:



Yardage: 7,286

Par: 70 (34-36)



Cumulative scoring averages:


R1: 69.34

R2: 68.64

R3: 69.75

R4: 70.16


Total: 69.31



Na: 69-63-65-64 for 16.885 SG: Total




Na’s Position by Round:



R1: T64 (8 back)

R2: T8 (5 back)

R3: T3 (1 back)




Na at the Greenbrier:



Starts: 5  

Cuts Made: 5


Top 25s: 2

Top 10s: 2 (T7/2012)

Top 5s: 1

Wins: 1



Greenbrier Form: 1-32-52-7-36








Through 36 events (37 winners) this season:



11 winners were in their 20s

21 were in their 30s (Na: age 34)

5 were in their 40s



Note: Na is third straight winner in their 30s, four in the last five (Koepka: 28).








A total of 77 pros from a field of 154 pros and 2 amateurs made the 36-hole cut of 3-under 137:



33 (of 76) EARLY/late; 1 WD (Kaufman; 1 DQ (Every)

44 (of 78) LATE/early



10 players finished in the top 10:



EARLY/late (6):


Kelly Kraft (2nd); Joaquin Niemann (T5); Austin Cook (T5); Joel Dahmen (T5); Sam Saunders (T5); Harold Varner III (T5)



LATE/early (4):


Kevin Na (Won); Brandt Snedeker (T3); Jason Kokrak (T3); Russell Henley (10th)



FUN FACT: Na is the fourth straight LATE/early of The Greenbrier. Last EARLY/late winner: Blixt in 2013







24 (of 36) tourneys this season with a traditional draw:






EARLY/late: 13


LATE/early: 11 (Na)





Leader/co-leaders by Round:



R1: Webb Simpson (finished T47): 1-for-9 as 18-hole leader/co-leader


R2: Kelly Kraft (finished 2nd): 0-for-1 as 36-hole leader/co-leader


R3: Harold Varner III (finished T5): 0-for-1 as 54-hole leader/co-leader

R3: Kelly Kraft (2nd): 0-for-1




Low Rounds:



R1: 61: Webb Simpson; career low


R2: 61: Anirban Lahiri; career low


R3: 65: Xander Schauffele, Kevin Na, Bubba Watson, Bronson Burgoon, J.T. Poston


R4: 63: Russell Henley




Bogey-free Rounds:



R1: (7): Webb Simpson (61); Joaquin Niemann (63); Jason Kokrak (65); Brandt Snedeker (66); Anirban Lahiri (67); Bronson Burgoon (67); James Hahn (67)


R2: (15): Anirban Lahiri (61); Kevin Na (63); Sam Saunders (63); Jason Kokrak (64); Tyler Duncan (64); Harold Varner III (64); George McNeill (64); William McGirt (66); Kevin Kisner (66); Nick Taylor (66); Keith Mitchell (67); Talor Gooch (67); Mackenzie Hughes (67); Ryan Moore (67); Chase Seiffert (65-MC)


R3: (2): Harold Varner III (66); John Peterson (68)


R4: (5): Russell Henley (63); Joaquin Niemann (64); Robert Streb (64); Keith Mitchell (65); Alex Cejka (66)




Multiple Bogey-free Rounds:



Niemann, Kokrak, Varner III, Lahiri, Mitchell (x2)



FUN FACT: Varner III closed out last year’s tourney debut with bogey-free 67 for T29





Odds Favorite(s) Outright:



Dating to the beginning of the 2016-17 season (129 events), the pre-tourney fave/co-fave has won 9 times.



36 tournaments this season

3 pre-tourney fave/co-faves won:



Dustin Johnson: 6/1 (St. Jude)

Jon Rahm: 8/1 (CareerBuilder)

Justin Thomas: 15/2 (CJ CUP)



Tony Finau (12/1 co-fave): finished T21 on 8-under 272 (67-67-67-71). Three Greenbrier’s, three top 25s (21-7-13). Tied 2nd on TOUR this season with 13 top 25s in 20 starts.


FEC: 10th (UP one)

OWGR: 31st (no change); tied career high


Season Form: 21-5-MC-13-57-21-6-10-24-17-MC



Russell Henley (12/1 co-fave): back-doored solo 10th with season-low bogey-free 63 for 11-under 269 (68-69-69-63). Eighth top 25 of season in 18 starts, third straight, and third top 10, second straight. Third straight top 10 at Greenbrier (10-5-5).


FEC: 70th (UP 10)

OWGR: 47th (DOWN one)


Season Form: 10-6-25-29-58-MC-MC-15-8





Player Spotlights:



Kelly Kraft, World No. 186: made 11’6” birdie on the 72nd hole to break out of a would-be three-way T3. The make was worth an additional $243,333 and 92 FEC points. Second runner-up in 85 events (2nd, 2017 Pebble Beach) and second straight top 5 at the Greenbrier (T5/2017). Third top 10 of season in 25 events, first since 3rd at Corales 12 starts ago.



FEC: 59th (UP 60)

OWGR: 124th (UP 62); career high


Season Form: 2-MC-47-66-35-MC-MC-MC-MC-MC-MC-80-3



Austin Cook, World No. 109: top rookie (of 21) and top debutant (of 37) with T5 on 12-under 268 (66-66-70-66). T1 in total bogeys with just four but had two doubles. 1st in Driving Accuracy at 83.93 percent (47/56). Eighth top 25 and third top 10 of season in 22 starts (T6, St. Jude; Won, RSM). Seventh time low rookie. Front-runner for Rookie of the Year honors.


FEC: 24th (UP four)

OWGR: 99th (UP 10); career high


Season Form: 5-MC-6-MC-MC-46



Joaquin Niemann, World No. 203: closing bogey-free 64 vaulted him 25 spots. Second straight career-best finish at The Greenbrier after last year’s T29 as an amateur in a then second career event (CUT, 2017 U.S. Open).


This year: career-best T5 on 12-under 268 (63-69-72-64), with R1 and R4 bogey-free. Fifth top 25 of season in nine starts, second straight, and fourth top 10. Special Temporary Member moves to No. 1 in the non-member FEC standings (four points ahead of now-No. 2 Aphibarnrat). The 19-year-old’s 414.000 non-member points would slot him 101st among members, so looking good for fully exempt status on TOUR next season. Ranked No. 1 for the week in the All-Around.


Non-member FEC Rank: 1st (UP one)

OWGR: 171st (UP 32); career high


Season Form: 5-17-MC-6-8-MC-MC-6(pro)-MC(amateur)





Na’s Weekly Stats (ranking of 77 players):



Eagles: 1 (T2)

Birdies: 23 (T1)

Bogeys: 6 (T11)


Par-3 Scoring: 3.06 (T35)

Par-4 Scoring: 3.69 (1st)

Par-5 Scoring: 4.38 (T14)



Driving Distance (all drives): 293.0 yards (41st)

Driving Accuracy: 38/56 (T32) at 67.86%

GIR: 53/72 (T34) at 73.61%

Proximity to Hole: 31’5” (40th)

Putts per GIR: 1.604 (1st)

Total Putts: 106 (1st)

Putts by Round: 31-27-24-24

Scrambling: 15/19 (2nd) at 78.95%

All Around: 2nd   



SG: Off-the-Tee: 1.290 (35th)

SG: Approach-the-Green: 5.260 (8th)

SG: Around-the-Green: 3.247 (4th)

SG: Putting: 7.089 (2nd)

SG: Tee-to-Green: 9.797 (5th)

You can find Mo on Twitter @Bears3423.
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