Perseverance paid off on Sunday as Titleist Brand Ambassador Kevin Na broke through for his first PGA Tour win at the opening event on the PGA Tour's Fall Series schedule, the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. The consistent 28-year-old, who has posted 28 top-10 performances over the course of his 8-year Tour career, trusted his Pro V1x golf ball and Titleist clubs from tee to green to enter the winners circle in his 211th start.
In the final round at TPC Summerlin, Na birdied the 15th, 16th and 17th holes to pull away for a two-stroke victory. His birdie putt at the par-3 17th was the shot of the day, a 42-foot double breaker that he started on a perfect line with his Scotty Cameron prototype RD Concept 1 putter. His Pro V1x rolled smoothly to start, gently banking left as it approached the hole. As the putt began to lose speed, the ball swung right, as Na and his caddie had predicted, dropping into the heart of the cup at the last possible moment.
"I'm very excited about my first win," said Na. "It wasn't easy. Nick was coming right behind me and it looked like he was going to make a move. I tried as best as I could to stay one step ahead of him. You know I said to myself 'It seems like every time I get a chance to win these guys step it up.' And I said, 'I'm, going to take things into my own hands and try to make this putt.' When I made that putt on 17 I knew I had the tournament in the bag."
Na, who is a resident of Las Vegas, closed with a 6-under 65 for a 23-under 261 total. He posted four rounds in the 60s for the week, including an 8-under 63 in the second round, his low round for the season. Home cooking apears to appeal to Na, who also posted a backyard victory on the Nationwide Tour (the 2006 Mark Christopher Charity Classic) when he was living in California. He later joked, "Hopefullly I'll keep winning. Keep wining here, and if I want to win a tournament somewhere [else], I guess I'll have to move to maybe Augusta or something."
Titleist golf ball players have now won over 70 percent (29 of 40) of events played this season on the PGA Tour, with 14 different full product line Titleist Brand Ambassadors combining for 17 of those victories.
At the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, 11 of the 14 players who finished among the top 10 and ties trusted a Titleist golf ball for their success. Titleist was the overwhelming golf ball of choice at the event with 98 players, nearly nine times the nearest competitor with 11. Na, who moves to No. 62 in the Official World Golf Ranking, led the field with 27 Birdies and Putts per Round (27.0).
Rounding out the top-10, six full product line Titleist Brand Ambassadors finished at 16-under 268 to tie for 10th place. The group included Scott Piercy, Ben Crane, Hunter Haas, Bryce Molder and Kris Blanks.
Titleist was the overwhelming golf ball of choice at the event with 98 players, nearly nine times the nearest competitor with 11. Titleist also was first in iron sets (39), including 26 sets of new 712 prototype irons (7 AP2, 8 MB, 10 CB and 1 AP1 set in play); sand, lob and approach wedges (130); and putters (56).
Here's a closer look at Kevin Na's Titleist equipment:
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Driver: Titleist 910D3 8.5º (with Matrix Ozik HD6)
3-wood: Titleist 910F 13.5º (with Matrix Ozik Code 7)
5-wood: Titleist 910F 17.0º (Mitsubishi Diamana Blue 73)
Hybrid: Titleist 910H 17.0º (Matrix Ozik Altus)
Irons: Titleist AP2 4-P (True Temper Dynamic Gold S400)
Wedges: Vokey Design Spin Milled 254•10º, 60.08º (True Temper Dynamic Gold S400)
Putter: Scotty Cameron RD Concept 1 prototype
Kevin Na's victory was also one of three on the week for Titleist Pro V1x players, bringing the 2011 win total across the worldwide professional tours to 132, 110 more than the nearest competitor with 22 and more than all competitors combined.
• EUROPEAN TOUR: It was a Titleist Brand Ambassador 1-2 finish at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship where Michael Hoey carded a final round 68 at St. Andrews for a 22-under par 266 victory total. It was the second win of the season for Hoey, who won the Madeira Islands Open in May.
With the victory, Hoey moves from 83rd to 15th in the Race to Dubai standings, earning an exemption to the Dubai World Championship, the season-ending finale where only the top 60 players compete. The performance also gives Hoey a good chance of earning a share of the $7.5million end of season Bonus Pool.
“It’s just amazing what winning a big tournament can do for you,” said Hoey. “Winning the Dunhill Links will open a lot of doors for me and getting into huge tournaments like the Dubai World Championship is one of the biggest benefits. I’m ecstatic."
Among the full product line of Titleist equipment in the bags of the top finishers were the new prototype Titleist 712 series irons. Hoey trusted the new AP2 model, while McIlroy opted for the new MB's. The new irons begin shipping to golf shops worldwide in mid-November.
Here's a closer look at Michael Hoey's Titleist equipment:
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Driver: Titleist 910D3 8.5º
3-wood: Titleist 910F 13.5º
Irons: Titleist AP2 (712 Series) 2-P
Wedges: Vokey Design Spin Milled 54º, 58º
- Titleist was the most played golf ball at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship with 100 players, more than four times the nearest competitor with 22.
- Titleist also was first in hybrids (27); iron sets (45), including 30 sets of new 712 prototype irons (5 AP2, 15 MB, 9 CB and 1 AP1 set in play); and sand, lob and approach wedges (183).
• CHAMPIONS TOUR: Pro V1x loyalist Kenny Perry captured his first Champions Tour title, closing with a 2-under par 70 to edge two players, including Jeff Sluman (Pro V1) by one shot at the SAS Championship. Perry's final round was highlighted by a 30-foot putt that he converted for eagle on the par-5 17th hole. The 51-year-old Perry, a 14-time winner on the PGA Tour winner, had an 11-under 205 victory total. The win comes after Perry's 11th Champions Tour start.
- Of the 11 players who finished tied for 10th place or better at the SAS Championship, seven trusted a Titleist golf ball for their success.
- Titleist was the overwhelming golf ball of choice at the SAS Championship with 51 players, more than 4 times the nearest competitor with 12.
• NATIONWIDE TOUR: Three players including Titleist Brand Ambassador Bob Heintz (Pro V1, 910D3 driver, 910F fairway metal, 910H hybrids, New AP1 prototype 712 series irons, Vokey Design wedges, Scotty Cameron Kombi putter) and Gavin Coles (Pro V1x) tied for 4th at 15-under 273.
- Of the 13 players who finished tied for 10th place or better at the WNB Golf Classic, 10 trusted a Titleist golf ball for their success. Titleist was the overwhelming golf ball of choice at the event with 100 players, more than six times the nearest competitor with 16.
- Titleist also was first in sand, lob and approach wedges (133); and putters (55).
• SOUTH AFRICA: Titleist was the overwhelming golf ball of choice at the Platinum Classic with 50 players (69%), more than twice the nearest competitor with 18.
• JAPAN: Titleist was the overwhelming golf ball of choice at the Coca-Cola Tokai Classic with 48 players. Titleist also was first in hybrids (30); and sand, lob and approach wedges (83). Titleist was second in irons sets (14), including 7 sets of new 712 prototype irons (3 AP2 and 4 CB sets in play); and putters (12).
• KOREA: Titleist Brand Ambassador Kyung-Tae Kim (ProV1x, 910D3 driver, 909H hybrid, 910H hybrid, CB/MB irons, Vokey Design pitching, gap and lob wedges) and SungHoon Kang (ProV1x, Vokey Design pitching, gap and lob wedges, Scotty Cameron Newport Fastback Circle T putter) tied for second at the ShinHan Bank Championship, one shot behind the winner, who took the title with score of even-par 288.. Titleist Brand Ambassador S.Y. Noh (Pro V1x, 910D3 driver, 910Fd fairway metal, new 13.5, 712 AP2/MB irons, Vokey Design pitching, sand and lob wedges, Scotty Cameron Del Mar circle-T putter) finished solo fourth, two shots back.
Eight of the 11 players who finished among the Top 10 and ties relied upon Titleist golf balls for their success.
Titleist was the overwhelming golf ball of choice at the event with 91 players, six times the nearest competitor with 15. Titleist also was first in hybrids (79); and sand, lob and approach wedges (113).