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Na triumphs at TPC Old White


Kevin Na won his second US PGA Tour title in seven years on Sunday when he fired a final-round 6-under 64 to capture the Greenbrier Classic - or 'The Military Tribute at The Greenbrier' as it is now known. 

Na, a 34-year-old Korean-born American, carded five birdies in six holes on the front nine to grab early control of the event and never let it go. 

He went on from there at famed Old White TPC in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, to close off with that sizzling 64, finish with a 19-under 261 total and beat fellow American Kelly Kraft, one of the joint overnight leaders, by all of five shots

Kraft shot a level-par 70 to tie for second place on 266 with fellow Americans Brandt Snedeker (64) and Jason Kokrak (67).

With their performances at Old White, Kraft, Snedeker, Kokrak and Austin Cook, all earned places in the Open Championship at Carnoustie later this month.

"It feels amazing. I see my records every time on TV - the most top fives, the most top 10s without a win," said a delighted Na, whose first PGA Tour win came at the Shriners Open in Las Vegas in 2011 and whose second victory now has seen him charge up the Official World Golf Rankings list from 65th to 41st.

"I'm always up there (on the leaderboards). I've been close so many years and failed so many times," said Na, who turned pro at age 17 some 17 years ago.

"It took me eight years to win the first time and at that time I told everyone it would not take me another eight years to win again. It took seven," he told CBS with a laugh.

Some magnificent putting is what singled out Na from the rest on Sunday. Nobody was able to play Old White's hard, fast greens as well as he did, and when a three-putt bogey on the 14th all but ended Kraft's hopes of capturing a maiden PGA Tour victory, there was no stopping Na

The flamboyant, emotional Na, known for often shouting instructions to his ball after he had hit it and for having some heated debates with his longtime caddie, Kenny Harms, said the win had taught him the importance of keeping his emotions in check when the pressure came on.

"Most importantly today I was able to keep within myself. I never got ahead of myself. Things were just happening and for some reason, I felt like it was my day. Maybe somebody up there was looking out for me," added Na, whose only setback in his seven-birdie round was a bogey on the par-four 11th.

Harold Varner, the second of the co-overnight leaders, had one of those days when not too much went right and after sharing his three birdies with three bogeys and a double bogey and shooting a 2-over 72, he finished in a tie for 5th with Chile young gun Joaquin Niemann (64), and fellow Americans Austin Cook (66), Joel Dahmen (69), and Sam Saunders (70).

(Par 70 - US Player unless stated)

261 Kevin Na 69 63 65 64
266 Kelly Kraft 64 63 69 70
267 Brandt Snedeker 66 67 70 64, Jason Kokrak 65 64 71 67
268 Joaquin Niemann (CHI) 63 69 72 64, Austin Cook 66 66 70 66, Joel Dahmen 67 65 67 69, Sam Saunders 68 63 67 70, Harold Varner 66 64 66 72
269 Russell Henley 68 69 69 63
270 Robert Streb 66 69 71 64, David Lingmerth (SWE) 66 68 68 68
271 Alex Cejka (GER) 68 68 69 66, John Peterson 68 69 68 66, Scott Stallings 70 63 70 68, Mackenzie Hughes 69 67 67 68, JJ Spaun 68 65 68 70, Keegan Bradley 65 69 67 70, Ryan Moore 66 67 67 71, Bubba Watson 68 66 65 72
272 JJ Henry 65 70 69 68, Talor Gooch 69 67 68 68, Tony Finau 67 67 67 71, Ryan Armour 67 66 67 72, Xander Schauffele 66 66 65 75
273 Lanto Griffin 69 66 70 68, Wesley Bryan 69 65 69 70, Ollie Schniederjans 66 66 69 72, Jamie Lovemark 67 66 67 73. 

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Neville Leck

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