Na squanders lead before beating Cantlay in Vegas playoff

(Reuters) – Kevin Na squandered a four-shot lead on the back nine but came up trumps in a playoff against Patrick Cantlay to win the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas on Sunday.

FILE PHOTO: Kevin Na of the U.S. hits from the sand on the second hole during first round play of the 2019 Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, U.S., April 11, 2019. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

Na sank a four-foot par putt at the second extra hole at TPC Summerlin to see off Cantlay, but he should have had the title sewn up well before.

Na’s cushion evaporated thanks to a triple-bogey at the 10th hole and a bogey at the par-five 16th after he hit his second shot into a pond.

Na shot one-under-par 70 while Cantlay carded 68. The pair tied at 23-under-par 261, two shots ahead of Pat Perez.

Na holed a clutch nine-foot putt at the first playoff hole, the par-four 18th, to match Cantlay’s birdie before winning it when they played the hole again and Cantlay three-putted.

“Came down way too close,” Na told Golf Channel after clinching his fourth PGA Tour victory.

“I had a comfortable lead. I hit a really bad tee shot, got unlucky and made a triple. All of a sudden I felt like I was the underdog but I’m a fighter.

“Patrick is a great player and to be able to beat him down the stretch felt great. I’ve lost three playoffs. This is my first playoff win. I kept telling myself, ‘this is a playoff I’m going to win’.”

Cantlay was gutted to see his five-footer dribble wide at the second extra hole.

“It obviously leaves a sour taste in my mouth,” he said.

“I thought I made a good stroke. It just broke a little more than I thought. The first (putt) was really slow.

“I hit a lot of putts that I thought were going to go in today and didn’t.”

Na was in cruise-control until the par-four 10th hole, where his second shot came up 40 yards short of the pin.

He then hit his pitch slightly too hard and it rolled over the crowned green and trickled down the hill, 50-feet beyond. A three-putt compounded his misery and suddenly the door was open.

Cantlay found himself ahead with two holes left but found water with his tee shot at the par-three 17th and made bogey, which left him tied with Na heading to the 18th.

Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; editing by Richard Pullin/Peter Rutherford

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