The Charles Schwab Challenge didn’t disappoint once again.
Colonial Week is a staple in our city, and huge crowds filled the prestigious golf course every day. Here’s a few takeaways from this year’s PGA Tour tournament.
Kevin Na may not be known to casual sports fans, but he’s a fine name to add to Colonial’s “Wall of Champions.” He seemed destined to win this tournament at some point, and did so against a stacked field that featured five of the Top 10 players in the world.
Na tied the course record with a 9-under 61 in the final round of the 2018 tournament (a tournament he opened with an 8-under 62). He fired another 62 in this year’s tournament on Friday, and clearly has a knack for this course.
Na has an appreciation for the history of the Colonial, too, calling it “an honor” to join the greats who have won this event. And, of course, he’s a big fan of Ben Hogan.
“Who doesn’t love Ben Hogan?” Na said following Saturday’s round. “If you’re a golf pro and you don’t love Ben Hogan, there is something wrong with you. Obviously a lot of my coaches growing up idolized his swing.
“No chance I get anywhere near it. You watch that swing and it is so pretty. Even now on social media you see Hogan’s old black and white films of his swing and it’s so beautiful. The motion, the tempo. It’s just — I mean, you can watch that and go to sleep and dream about it.
“But, yeah, seems like every place that Hogan liked I love it too. I love Riviera. Hogan Alley there too. So the short answer is yes, I love Ben Hogan.”
Na made a nice gesture by giving the restored 1973 Dodge Challenger to his longtime caddie, Kenny Harms.
Harms requested the car before the tournament even began, and Na agreed to award it to him should he win.
The car became part of the champions’ prize package under new title sponsor Charles Schwab.
“It’s really exciting to have him give me that car,” Harms said. “He said, ‘You better not sell it.’ Of course I won’t. There are certain things you keep and treasure forever, and the car will be one of them.”
Na joked that he made the agreement before knowing how much the car was valued at. But, if Harms wants to race him, Na is in OK shape.
“I got a Lamborghini at home,” Na said, smiling.
Yours truly thought Jordan Spieth would emerge victorious going into Sunday’s round. But Spieth simply didn’t have more magic left in his putter.
Spieth rolled in bomb after bomb the first three rounds, but it didn’t happen on Sunday. He blamed it on a handful of misreads by a half a cup, and never really threatened to win the tournament.
A bogey on No. 2 — a hole Spieth birdied in each of the first three rounds — foreshadowed the kind of day he was in for. But Spieth still finished tied for eighth, earning $197,100, and seems optimistic about the momentum he’s taking going into the summer.
“I made progress this week,” said Spieth, who finished tied for third at last week’s PGA Championship. “I know exactly what I need to work on before I start on Thursday next week in my swing to make it even better.”
Hardest and easiest
No. 5 and No. 9 played as the two hardest holes of the tournament, as players averaged a score of 4.273 on each of the par-4s.
No. 5 is the end of the “Horrible Horseshoe,” Nos. 3-5. No. 3 ranked as the third-toughest hole on the week (4.226 scoring average on the par-4). No. 4, a long par-3, ranked as the ninth hardest hole.
The easiest hole? The par-5 first. There were 150 birdies and nine eagles made on it throughout the four days. Players carded just 22 bogeys and three double bogeys on it.
Did you know?
There are 72 players on the PGA Tour who have surpassed the $1 million mark in earnings this season following the Colonial. Na is now at $2.17 million in earnings this season.