PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Kevin Na is slow to pull the trigger, and quick to make fun of himself.
In what made for painful viewing Saturday in The Players Championship — for fans at the TPC Sawgrass and those watching from home — Na took hundreds of waggles as he set up over the ball, backed off the shot if he didn’t feel comfortable and a couple of times purposely missed so he could start over.
The only number that mattered was a 4-under 68, one of only three bogey-free rounds on a dangerous golf course. Backing off only once in the 18th fairway, he hit his approach to 15 feet for birdie and took a one-shot lead over Matt Kuchar (69) going into the final round.
“There’s so much on the line that I just have to sometimes back off,” Na said. “Or I’ll force myself to take it back, and on the way down, I’ll pull up and go over the top (of the ball). As ugly as it is, and as painful as it is, believe me, it’s really tough for me. And I’m trying….”