Golf

Kevin Na wins Sony Open by 1 with closing birdie binge

HONOLULU — The spoils on the Sony Open belonged to Kevin Na, a winner for the fourth straight season after coming from three photographs behind with six holes to play for a one-shot victory with a birdie on the ultimate gap.

The comfort prize belonged to Chris Kirk, and it felt like a win.

Kirk stepped away in Might 2019 due to alcoholism and despair, a call he feels saved himself, his household and his profession. He was taking part in the ultimate occasion of a medical extension the PGA Tour awarded him for misplaced time, and he delivered a 65 to complete one shot behind.

The birdie on the ultimate gap gave him sufficient factors to regain full standing.

“It completely adjustments the whole lot, having the ability to be again to choosing my schedule like I am used to over the past variety of years,” Kirk stated. “I am grateful God put me in an awesome scenario, and also you by no means know what is going on to occur.”

Na may have felt equally.

The Sony Open is often so crowded on the prime that nobody is protected and nobody is ever out of it. Na appeared to be out of it solely when he missed a 6-foot birdie putt on the 11th after which three-putted for bogey from 40 ft on the 12th to fall three photographs behind Brendan Steele.

He answered with three straight birdies, Steele faltered at Waialae for the second straight 12 months and Na delivered the profitable shot with a 5-wood from the tough that went simply over the again of the inexperienced on the par-5 18th, leaving him a easy up-and-down for birdie and a 5-under 65.

“I used to be taking part in possibly somewhat bit extra aggressive coming down the stretch, not worrying a lot about second or third, extra targeted on simply that — profitable,” Na stated. “Yearly, I hope to win, and I anticipate to win on the suitable golf programs.”

Kirk and Joaquin Niemann (66) completed one shot behind, and it felt good to solely one among them. Niemann was runner-up for the second straight week in Hawaii. He completed the 2 Hawaii occasions at 45-under par with no trophy to point out for it.

“Simply one other good week, so completely happy for that,” Niemann stated. He does go away Hawaii with $1,369,400 in earnings.

Na collected his fifth profession victory on the PGA Tour. Na, who turned professional out of highschool, did not win till his eighth season. It was seven extra seasons till he received once more. Now, he is as much as 4 seasons in a row.

“I feel expertise is the explanation why I have been profitable,” he stated. “Once you do it once more, you already know it looks as if the subsequent one comes simpler. … I feel extra about profitable since I have been profitable extra typically.”

It was exhausting to assume that approach when he was working out of time. From the tough left of the 13th, he hit his method into slightly below 15 ft for the primary of three straight birdies.

As for Steele, it was one other 12 months of disappointment in paradise, this yet one more of a gradual leak. Steele final 12 months had a two-shot lead with two to play and wound up dropping in a playoff. This time, he made an 18-foot eagle putt on the ninth gap to take a three-shot lead into the again 9.

He hit driver on the 355-yard 10th and did not fairly clear a bunker, leaving an ungainly lie. He put his wedge on the entrance of the inexperienced some 80 ft away and three-putted. His sport was so tentative the remainder of the best way that he did not have a birdie likelihood inside 30 ft till the 17th gap. That was from 10 ft to tie for the lead, and he missed that.

Steele additionally did not birdie the 18th and closed with a 69.

“Completely modified the momentum,” Steele stated about his bogey on the 10th. “Each single shot I hit after that ended up with a bizarre lie. … I feel you simply have to essentially take some positives out of this. Exhausting to see for me proper now.”

Webb Simpson matched the low rating of the ultimate spherical with a 64 and tied for fourth together with Steele and Marc Leishman, who shot 30 on the again 9.

Na completed at 21-under 259 and is assured of returning to Hawaii for 2 weeks subsequent 12 months, beginning with the Event of Champions at Kapalua. That course will be too huge for him. Waialae proved to be an ideal match.

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