The Washington Post

Na cashes in with a chip at Colonial


Kevin Na stood over his ball after taking a drop in the rough beside the ninth green following two wayward shots. It was his final hole of the day, and he had a share of the lead in the Fort Worth Invitation­al at Colonial.

As Na looked toward the hole more than 90 feet away, he saw the huge ridge going through the middle of the green. He then noticed the caddie of one of his playing partners move a bag from behind the green.

“Because I can chip it over the right down the other side,” Na said.

Instead, Na chipped in for an incredible birdie to wrap up an 8-under 62. That gave him a onestroke lead over Charley Hoffman, who also had a bogey-free round Thursday. Jhonattan Vegas, Emiliano Grillo, Andrew Putnam and Beau Hossler all shot 64s.

Na’s tee shot at the 399-yard ninth hole went into the rough to the right, and his approach flew over the green and settled against a temporary grandstand. His relief was a drop into more rough, but after the chip landed on the green, the ball started to curl toward the cup.

“It got over the ridge, and I was like, ‘ This is going to be good. It’s going to be close.’ Then it catches the right lip,” Na said, describing it as a perfect chip.

This is the sixth time Na has had a first-round lead, his third at Colonial.

Na’s best finish at Hogan’s Alley was a tie for seventh in 2007, and his only PGA Tour victory came seven years ago in Las Vegas.

PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS: Nevada club profession­al Stuart Smith shot a 5-under 66 for a share of the first-round lead in the Senior PGA Championsh­ip in Benton Harbor, Mich.

Smith closed his morning round with a double bogey on the par-4 18th, and Scott McCarron, Tim Petrovic, Wes Short Jr., Barry Lane and Peter Lonard matched the 66 in the afternoon.

One of 41 club pros in the field at Harbor Shores for the senior major, Smith is the director of golf at Somersett Country Club in Reno, Nev.

“To see my name on the board out there — it’s not like I’m blind to the leader board — that was cool,” Smith said.

McCarron won the Senior Players Championsh­ip last year for his first senior major.

Defending champion Bernhard Langer is skipping the event to attend son Jason’s high school graduation.

LPGA TOUR: Moriya Jutanugarn, Caroline Masson, Danielle Kang and Amy Olson shot 6-under 66s to share the first-round lead in the Volvik Championsh­ip in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Ariya Jutanugarn, the Kingsmill Championsh­ip winner last week in Virginia, opened with a 69.

The Jutanugarn sisters are among six players with a chance to become the LPGA Tour’s first twotime winner this year.

EUROPEAN TOUR: Rory McIlroy shot 5-under 67 in the opening round at Wentworth but was disappoint­ed after a missed three-foot birdie putt on the final hole left him two shots off the lead held by Lucas Bjerregaar­d at the BMW PGA Championsh­ip in Virginia Water, England.

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