By Matt Cradock published
In a final round where scoring was low, it was the American pair of Kevin Na and Jason Kokrak who came out on top, producing 12 birdies in the last 13 holes for a one shot victory.
The duo had started three shots back of Australian pair, Jason Day and Marc Leishman. However, both Na and Kokrak dovetailed perfectly despite a shaky start, with the win Na's second of 2021, and Kokrak's third.
Speaking after their final round 60, Na said "We got off to a poor start, but we kept telling ourselves there are plenty of birdie holes still to come. I started to make some birdies and we got hot. Jason really showed up on the back nine."
"I was leaning on Kevin big time on the front nine," said Kokrak, "it was absolutely incredible. I mean he hit every shot in the book, but I got a nice little swing thought and made some good putts on the back. We really ham and egged it well today."
Comprising of 12 teams of two, the QBE Shootout featured a final day fourball format, following a first round scramble and second round alternate shot.
With teams looking to go low in the third and final round, Day and Leishman held a three shot lead over a trio of groups - Na and Kokrak, Billy Horschel and Sam Burns, and defending champions, Harris English and Matt Kuchar.
Needing a strong start, Day birdied the second and fourth to extend their lead to four over the chasing pack.
However, despite a scrappy level-par start through five, the group of Na and Kokrak were about to set the Tiburón course alight, with Na rolling in putt after putt to get the pair into a share of the lead after nine.
So close to leaving with a new ride. 🚘@JayKokrak almost drained it off the tee. pic.twitter.com/3x8Ujq5Nn8December 12, 2021
With four consecutive birdies to finish his front nine, the 38-year-old remained on fire, with Na making another three birdies for seven in a row!
What's more, when Na struggled, his partner stepped in, making back-to-back birdies on the 13th and 14th for nine birdies in a row and a two shot lead.
Despite parring the 15th and seeing their lead drop to one, Na and Kokrak remained calm, with a trio of birdies over the remaining three holes putting them at 33-under-par for the tournament.
Back on the fairway, the pairs of Horschel and Burns and Day and Leishman would need to hole their approach shots to force a playoff, but the pairs couldn't manage the feat, handing the victory to Na and Kokrak.
The win was an especially emotional one for Na who, only a month ago, lost two close friends in Dusty Schmidt, a childhood friend who Na grew up playing golf with at Western Hills Country Club and Kenny Lee, a friend in Las Vegas where Na lives.
"It really hit me (when they passed). We have memories of Dusty coming to the Masters and caddying for me at pro golf events," said Na. "I've never cried so much in the past month. I think they were up there helping us out, so I want to thank both of them and it wouldn't have been possible without them."
Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.