Kevin Na putts his way into share of Las Vegas lead as Brooks Koepka bows out
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 05/10/19 7:34am
Kevin Na produced an outstanding finish to claim a share of the halfway lead as Brooks Koepka crashed out of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas.
Na holed over 125 feet of putts over the last six holes, two of them dropping for eagle before a birdie-birdie finish capped a superb 62 on another day of low scoring at TPC Summerlin, while 2017 winner Patrick Cantlay fired a 64 to join the four-way tie at the top.
Brian Stuard (65) and 2009 US Open champion Lucas Glover (63) also head into the weekend on 12 under par, but Koepka's first start since losing out to Rory McIlroy at the Tour Championship in August resulted in a missed cut by four shots.
Na cruised to the turn in 31 before dropping his only shot of the day at the 10th, but he enjoyed an incredible run of form on the greens down the stretch, holing putts from 45 feet at the 13th and 35 feet at the 15th - both for eagle.
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The 36-year-old got further chances to drop from outside 20 feet on each of the last two greens to complete the low score of the second day in which he vaulted 42 places up the leaderboard.
"Yeah, my putter was hot," said Na with a wry smile afterwards. "I started with a 60-footer on the first hole, and I just kept making putts today. I hit a lot of good shots, too, but the putter was working.
"It's one of those days when you stand over it and you feel everything. My stroke just felt good and I felt confident over the putt. I was more into focusing on putting a good stroke on than trying to make it if you know what I mean."
Cantlay surged into contention with an impressive back-nine - his first nine - with four birdies and an eagle-two at the driveable par-four 15th adding up to an inward 30, although his scoring was more sedate on the front half as he mixed two further birdies with a lone blemish.
The leading quartet have a one-stroke lead over Australian Matt Jones, who returned an eight-birdie 63, while Scotland's Martin Laird raced to within three of the lead and capped a stellar 65 with his seventh birdie of the round.
Former Masters champion Adam Scott is also in the group on nine under, with Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson and US Open holder Gary Woodland one further off the pace after 36 holes.
But world No 1 Koepka will have the weekend off after he was unable to match the low scoring of his rivals, offsetting three birdies with a bogey and a double-bogey at the par-four 11th, where it took him four shots just to find the putting surface.
However, there will be interest for the Koepka family over the second half of the event as the four-time major champion's younger brother Chase added a 69 to his opening 66 to end the day five off the lead on seven under par.