Koreans get lost in star-studded shuffle at WGC golf tourney

November 9, 2015
Kevin Na of the United States plays out of a bunker (AP Photo/Joshua Paul)

Kevin Na of the United States plays out of a bunker (AP Photo/Joshua Paul)

By Brian Han

Scotland’s Russel Knox proved he had loads of talent last season on the PGA Tour with three top-10s, but now we know he can win among the best.

Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy among many other big names all fell behind Knox’s 20-under total.

It was the first time in the season that a player with Korean heritage had not placed in the top-3. That had everything to do with Korean American Kevin Na who saw his recently excellent play dip this week at the WGC HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai.

He had come in second, second and third, respectively, in the previous three tournaments, but couldn’t quite offset his bogeys with enough birdies.

The 32-year-old was an absolute archer off the tee hitting 75 percent of his fairways, which was enough for second best in the field.

But just because he kept the ball out of the rough, didn’t mean he put himself into good positions to attack the greens. His iron-play put him at the bottom of the field for greens-in-regulation and to compound the issue, his putter went cold as well.

He never shot over par, but only had one round under par with a final day 1-under 71, which put him in 57th place for the week.

An Byeong-hun placed the highest of all Korean players at tied-for-19th. After three solid rounds, he couldn’t quite put anything together during the last round to climb up the leaderboard.

After an even-par 72 on Sunday, An posted an 11-under total. Just like Na, his putter proved to be the primary culprit.

South Korea’s K.T. Lee came in tied-for-27th with a 9-under total.

Canada’s Richard H. Lee couldn’t find a groove after firing off a 4-under 68 in his opening round. He stayed at 4-under for the rest of the week and finished tied-for-46th.

Korean New Zealander Danny Lee is coming off one of his best seasons in his young career, but has struggled as of late. He finished at even-par for the tournament placing him in a tie-for-58th.