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Korean Americans finish strong at CIMB Classic, not enough

November 2, 2015
Kevin Na of the United States waves after finishing the 18th hole during the third round of CIMB Classic golf tournament at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015. (AP Photo/Joshua Paul)

Kevin Na of the United States waves after finishing the 18th hole during the third round of CIMB Classic golf tournament at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015. (AP Photo/Joshua Paul)

By Brian Han

It’s tough to stay upset as a competitor when the winner of the CIMB Classic in Malaysia sets a tournament record 26-under.

22-year-old American Justin Thomas put on a show all week highlighted by a second round course-record setting 11-under 61.

But if you are PGA Tour veteran Kevin Na, who has finished second, second and third, respectively, to tour rookies in his last three starts, a bit of frustration begins to seem completely understandable.

“It just keeps getting more and more disappointing, because three weeks in a row I’m right there,” he told reporters after the final round.

He didn’t hook a tee shot like he did in a playoff just two weeks ago at the Frys.com Open. He didn’t mis-hit a chip like he did coming down the stretch like he did at the Shriners Open the week after.

Looking at his scorecard, he had a bogey-free five-under 67 that included three birdies and an eagle.

But a deeper look into his round shows that he had opportunities to nab his second-career victory in his final holes.

The Korean American barely missed two key putts on the 16th and 17th holes from lengths where he is incredibly efficient — inside of five feet.

He finished with a 24-under total, just two off of Thomas, but he kept his head up high after the round.

“You got to take the positive,” he said. “I’m playing the best golf of my life. I got another shot at the world championship next week… One of these weeks I’ll win.”

Another Korean American James Hahn had a comeback performance finishing in solo sixth with a 21-under total.

He admitted that he didn’t feel he was ever in a position to win the tournament considering that certain players including Thomas were “making birdies left and right.”

One thing’s for sure. Hahn enjoyed his trip and the fans who came out to the event.

“I love Malaysia,” he said when asked about his experience so far. “I feel like it’s very similar to Korea, the weather, very hot and humid.”

“The people are so nice. It’s interesting that more people in Malaysia know who I am than in California. In California or I’m sorry, in the United States, in the United States, they always call me John Huh or Sang-Moon Bae or Kevin Na.”

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