Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – One of the biggest stories of the 2015-2016 season, thus far, has been the incredibly consistent play of American Kevin Na.
Coming off back-to-back runner-up finishes at the Frys.com Open and the Shriners Hospital for Children Open, Na put himself back in contention for another top finish, and maybe a second PGA Tour win, after a 64 on moving day on Saturday. The 32-year old also finished second at this event last year to two-time defending champion Ryan Moore.
Na doesn’t seemed too stressed about his current position or his record. “Eight times in my career I finished second. I’ve got to keep the streak alive. Worst case, I win, right?” joked Na.
“I’ve been unlucky a few times. But you know what? The last few weeks I’ve never felt so comfortable coming down the stretch. I’ve been getting a lot of compliments from my friends and coaches and family members, friends, saying how comfortable I looked.”
Thomas and Steele Lead
Na is a stroke back of second round leader Justin Thomas, who fired a 67 in the third round and Brendan Steele who finished with a 66.
The 22-year old Thomas is looking for his first PGA Tour win after a successful amateur career and is considered a player to watch during the 2015-2016 season.
Thomas is hoping to use a couple of past failures as experience in Sunday’s final round. “This is where you want to put yourself at every event,” Thomas said. “I’m just going to use my past learning experiences in the other events I’ve played in and just try to go out there and hit a bunch of fairways.”
Steele, who lists the 2011 Texas Valero Open as his only win, was in a similar position at the Frys.com open earlier in the season, but fell out of contention with a final round 76. He too is hoping the tough lessons will pay off this time.
“I learned a lot from it,” Steele said. “Feel like I’m in a better place now, mentally. I’ll be trying to be a little bit more patient and a little bit more positive, not kind of (putting) so much pressure on myself.”
Others in Contention
A total of nine players enter the final round within four shots of the lead, including four golfers at 17-under 199 – Americans James Hahn (64), Spencer Levin (68) and Brian Harman (66) and Japanese star Hideki Matsuyama (68).
Former world number one Adam Scott moved into contention with a second consecutive 6-under par 66 and sits at 16 under par. He’s tied with first round leader Scott Piercy, who shot his second straight 69 after opening with 62 on Thursday.
Defending Champion Hanging Around
Moore, the two-time defending champion, who is looking to join Steve Stricker as the only players to win the same PGA tour event in three straight years, had his best round of the tournament with a 66 on Saturday. But will need to go low on Sunday to make up the six-stroke deficit.
He’s in a group tied for 10th place at -14 with Sweden’s David Lingmerth (64), Patrick Reed (66) and Stewart Cink (70).
Pre-tournament favorites Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson couldn’t get in going on moving day and see themselves well off the pace. Garcia had a 66 on Saturday, while Stenson struggled to a 71 on the birdie-friendly Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club layout. Garcia is 10 shots back with a 54-hole score of 206, while Stenson, scheduled for knee surgery in early December is 13 shots off the pace.
Final Round Coverage
Once again the Golf Channel is home to coverage of the final round of the CIMB Classic in North America. It starts at 11:00 pm EDT.