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Kevin Na has heartbreaking 2nd place finish two weeks in a row

October 26, 2015
Kevin Na reacts to his second shot on the sixth hole during the final round of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open golf tournament Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

Kevin Na reacts to his second shot on the sixth hole during the final round of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open golf tournament Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

By Brian Han

Kevin Na keeps on finding himself on the cusp of winning. It happened again on Sunday as he finished in a six-way tie for second place at the Shriners Hospital for Children Open in Las Vegas, Nev. where he coincidentally also resides.

So even though he probably had the shortest drive home of any other player in the field that night, it may have felt like the longest.

In the two PGA Tour events this season, the Korean American finished second in consecutive weeks.

“Honestly? Having just one win bothers me,” Na told The Korea Times back in March referring to the 2011 Shriners Open.

That number hasn’t changed, but what many don’t see is that he’s continuing to play some of the best golf of his career.

The 32-year-old is ranked the highest he has ever been at No. 21 in the world. His stats suggest he’s stronger and more accurate than he’s ever been.

“The way I look at it is I’m only 32-years-old and most players start peaking in their 30s,” he said. “I feel like this is my time and I’m working hard to improve so that I can win a lot more tournaments.”

He’s poised to win tournaments week in and week out. Not many players can say that except for household names like your Spieths, Days and McIlroys.

Again, it came down to the final stretch on Sunday. Na was tied for the lead, but lost a stroke on the 17th hole in an uncharacteristic way. He mis-hit a basic chip to leave himself a 12-footer instead of a short putt.

“I feel like I’m one of the best short games on tour, and to hit a chip like that, and as comfortable as I felt over the ball — the lie was actually sitting up too high, like it was on a tee, and I just went under it,” he told reporters after the round.

To am extent it’s true. From certain distances, he’s Mr. Automatic.

The man is an assassin from putts that are three feet or shorter. To put things into perspective, he made 99.31 percent of those putts last season. He had 91 putt attempts in the last two weeks. He made all of them.

The rest of his scorecard was free of any blemishes. He played almost flawlessly up until that point.

It’s impossible to say if it was just a freak mishap or a psychological blunder.

Either way, the 14-year veteran continues to improve his game, and he has the stats to prove it.

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    November 24, 2017 at 3:01 AM

    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – Milwaukee and Wisconsin …

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