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Na again in the mix at The Players

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – In eight trips to The Players, Kevin Na has learned that caution is more often than not the better part of valor.

Maybe it was that closing 76 in 2012 after he started the day alone in the lead. Or maybe it was that third-round 74 that cost him a shot at the title in 2009.

Whenever it happened, the 31-year-old is a passionate proponent of patience at TPC Sawgrass.

“It’s a difficult golf course, and if you’re not on top of your game, it’s going to be very difficult to score,” said Na, who took a share of the lead late when he closed his round with a birdie at the ninth hole for a 5-under 67.

“There’s some holes out there where you just have to play it safe, maybe make sure you get it in play and then when you have a chance to get aggressive you have to pull off the perfect shot.”

Na was nearly perfect on Thursday. He birdied his first two holes of the day and posted his only bogey after a three-putt at the par-4 15th hole.