Kevin Na watched his first shot on No. 9 veer badly off course. His next stroke wasn't any better. Or the next one. Or the 11 after that.
Or maybe it was 12. Thirteen? Na himself couldn’t keep track.
“I got done with the hole and I said (to my caddie), ‘I think I made somewhere between a 10 and a 15,’ ” Na said. “But I think it’s close to a 15.”
J.J. Henry and former British Open champion Stewart Cink shot 5-under 67s to begin the Texas Open in San Antonio atop the leaderboard, but the spotlight belonged to Na, whose meltdown on the par-4 ninth ranked among the worst in PGA Tour history and sunk his chances after an otherwise impressive first round Thursday.
Adam Scott, riding the momentum of his runner-up finish at the Masters, began his defense of last year’s Texas Open championship strong and was a stroke back. The Australian shot a 68 and was tied with Charley Hoffman, Jhonattan Vegas, Vaughn Taylor and Kevin Chappell.
If not for No. 9, Na might’ve been joined them.
Na birdied No. 18 to go 4 under on the other 17 holes. But so dreadful was No. 9 that the score was adjusted three times – first a 14, then 15, and finally, after a lengthy review of a video replay before signing his scorecard, it changed yet again to a 16.
He finished at 8-over 80.
“It’s all a blur,” Na said.
Here’s a breakdown: his tee shot sailed into the woods, where Na eventually found the ball. He called it unplayable and teed off again, but not with better results. Along the way he whiffed one stroke, ricocheted another off his inner thigh, tried two shots left-handed and watched the ball barely sputter forward on another stroke. All while still in the woods.
“One bad hole can basically shoot you out of the tournament,” Na said. “That’s what I just did.”
The worst single-hole score at a PGA Tour event belongs to John Daly, who had an 18 on the par-5 sixth hole at Bay Hill in 1998. Ray Ainsley took 19 shots on the par-4 16th hole at Cherry Hills in the 1938 U.S. Open.
Alexander Noren shot an 8-under 64 to take a two-stroke lead in the weather-shortened first day of the Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur. Masters champion Charl Schwartzel carded a 73.