Na Shoots 61, Leads Cantlay by 2 in Vegas

Kevin Na knows how to play the numbers in Las Vegas.

Na collected five birdies on each nine while shooting a bogey-free, 10-under-par 61 to take a two-stroke lead over Patrick Cantlay heading to the final round of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin in Vegas.

“I’ve still got to keep the pedal to the metal because anyone can shoot 8- or 9- under,” said Na, who won this tournament in 2011 and tied for second in 2016 among six finishes in the top 25. “I believe we’re going to get a little more wind tomorrow. Got to go out and post a good number.

“Somebody asked me yesterday, ‘Do you feel like over the ball you’re just going to make everything?’ No, it’s not that. I feel comfortable and I feel confident. And all I’m trying to do is hit good putts.’

“”I thought that (20-foot par putt at No. 5) was the biggest putt today.”

Na, who went to Diamond Bar High and now lives in Las Vegas, posted the ninth round of 62 or better in his PGA Tour career and tied his career-low. He birdied his first two holes, added four in a row through No. 10 and four more on the last six holes to record a 54-hole total of 22-under 191 after starting with rounds of 68-62.

Seventh-ranked Cantlay, the 2017 Shriners champion from Los Alamitos and UCLA, carded six birdies on the front nine in a 63, while Pat Perez of San Diego is four back following a 62.

“I was working hard before I came here hoping to get off to a good start this season after being hurt last year,” said the 43-year-old Perez, a three-time PGA Tour winner. “I would go work out in the morning and practice in the afternoon.

“It all started to come together the last two days, but yesterday I was playing too defensively, so decided to start trying to make putts and suddenly they were going into the hole. I even made some long ones and you have to do that if you shoot 64-62,

“I need another low one tomorrow to have a chance to beat the field.”

Lucas Glover, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, carded a bogey-free 66 and is five down in a tie for fourth with Sam Ryder, who had a 64 that was highlighted by a 10-foot eagle putt at No. 10, while Webb Simpson, the 2012 U.S. Open champion, birdied five of the last eight holes in a flawless 64 and is one more behind in a tie for sixth with Brian Stuard, whose three straight birdies on the back nine led to a 67.

Tony Finau sank a seven-foot eagle putt at No. 16 in a bogey-free 62 and is seven back in a tie for eighth with Adam Scott of Australia (65), Denny McCarthy (63), Brian Gay (64), and UNLV product Ryan Moore (65).

Defending champion Bryson DeChambeau of Clovis is tied for 21st after a 67, three-time Vegas winner Jim Furyk shot 70, reigning U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland is tied for 59th following a 71, and Phil Mickelson stumbled to a 74 and is tied for 69th.

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