Written by
Joy Chakravarty, LIV Golf Correspondent
Apr 05 2024
- 4 MIN
Iron Heads Miami preview Na

MIAMI – At LIV Golf Hong Kong, a most heroic performance by Iron Heads Captain Kevin Na was overshadowed by the individual brilliance of Abraham Ancer and Crushers GC's sensational charge to win the team title.

The 40-year-old Las Vegas native reached the bustling Asian city feeling terrible because of jetlag. It took him, as well as teammate Danny Lee, some time to recover and they did not have the best preparation for the tournament at the short, 6,710-yard Hong Kong Golf Club.

Na opened on Friday with a solid 3-under par, but it was his second round that stood out. It’s a travesty of justice that his 68 will not get the respect it truly deserves.

The multiple-time winner on the PGA Tour had a terrible start on Saturday. Playing in unusually cold conditions accompanied by constant rain, Na started with a double bogey on the par-3 fifth hole and then followed it up with a bogey on the sixth and another double on the seventh. When he dropped a shot on the 10th hole, Na was 6-over after the first six holes.

Nothing seems to go his way, but the Iron Heads leader rediscovered his resolve and knuckled down. In a most dramatic turnaround, Na birdied the 11th and 13th, then had a brace of birdies on the 15th and 16th and picked up another shot on one of the most troublesome holes on the golf course – the par-4 18th. He then closed out sensationally with three birdies in his last three holes for a most unlikely 2-under par round.

The six shots lost made a crucial difference to Na’s fortune, as he shot a 64 on Sunday to finish tied 6th at 11 under, just two places outside the playoff score of 13-under par.

“I thought that was a very brave performance by Kevin,” said team member Scott Vincent. “As golfers, we all know that we should never give up in a round, but it becomes very difficult when you have a start like that. For him to finish 2 under from there was very impressive indeed.”

Iron Heads did not finish among the points in Hong Kong, but it could have been a much better finish than their eventual 10th place at 20 under. That included Sunday rounds from Jinichiro Kozuma and Lee in which they made back-to-back bogeys and Vincent’s bogey on the short par-5 third hole in their closing stretch.

The tied 6th place in Hong Kong is Na’s best in LIV Golf so far, eclipsing his 8th place at DC and Tucson last year. However, the other Iron Heads players need to step up this season. Only Vincent is in the points with his tied 21st place finish in Hong Kong.

Na, who ranks first in fairways hit this season, should be in the mix once again at the Blue Monster, which demands accuracy off the tee with its surfeit of water hazards. It’s also a very long course and his prowess in scrambling (T5th this season), should also help.