Patton Kizzire carded a 2-under 68 on Sunday and beat James Hahn on the sixth sudden-death playoff hole to capture the 2018 Sony Open at Waialae Country Club.
Kizzire couldn’t manufacture much of anything to start, and made the turn at even-par 34, on a card comprised of nine pars.
A chip-in eagle on the par-four 10th, followed by a birdie on 11, briefly had the former Auburn star at 18 under. But a bogey on No. 13 dropped the 31-year old back to 17 under, where he ended following five consecutive pars to close.
“It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but it was nice to come out on top,” said a happy, but drained, Kizzire. “James had a great round today. It was kind of a marathon playoff. I was hoping I could make an eagle on the first hole, but I’ll take it any way I can get it.”
Hahn, who started the day seven off the lead – and six back of Kizzire, got off to a unremarkable start, and was just 1 under through seven holes. But beginning on the 8th hole, the 36-year old Cal product caught fire, reeling off seven birdies over an eight-hole stretch, en route to a low-round 62 and a 17 under total.
“During regulation, it kind of felt like there was a certain number that I wanted to hit,” said Hahn, a two-time Tour winner. “I wanted to be — I told my caddie, after the five in a row, I wanted to be 17 under with 18 to play. And from there, I hit a good tee shot. Anything can happen.”
In the playoff, the two 72-hole co-leaders posted matching scores through the first five sudden-death holes (par-birdie-par-birdie-par). But an errant tee shot by Hahn, on the sixth hole (par-three 17th), led to the first bogey of overtime, giving Kizzire the victory with a tap-in par.
“This is huge for me. One win doesn’t necessarily mean a whole lot, two means a little more, and three is even better. I’m always looking for the next one. I’m super excited right now,” said Kizzire, who won the OHL Classic in the wrap-around portion of the 2018 schedule.
For his second career win, Kizzire earned $1,116,000 and 500 FedExCup points, which moved him to the top spot in the standings.
Tom Hoge, the surprise 54-hole leader, maintained a one-shot lead through 15 holes, but a double bogey on the 16th dropped the South Dakota native to 16 under, where he finished after pars on 17 and 18.
Hoge, 28, signed for a final-round even-par 70, good for solo-third place – his best finish on the PGA Tour.
“This sets me up a lot better for the rest of the year, and hopefully make the FedEx Cup playoffs,” said Hoge. “More so just the confidence I had to play in the final group and play well today.”
Brian Harman, who played in the final pairing along with Hoge, stayed in the hunt through the first 12 holes, but a three-putt bogey on 13, coupled with a another on 16, dropped the Georgian to 14 under and out of contention.
A final birdie on 18 got Harman to even-par 70, tied for fourth, alongside Webb Simpson (65) and Brian Stuard (65) at 15 under.
Defending champion Justin Thomas shot 2-under 68 to finish T14. Fellow Honolulu headliner, Jordan Spieth, closed with eight-straight pars to post a “disappointing” 4-under 66, tied for 18th.
FINAL TOP 10
1 Patton Kizzire -17
2 James Hahn -17
3 Tom Hoge -16
4 Webb Simpson -15
4 Brian Harman -15
4 Brian Stuard -15
7 Ollie Schniederjans -14
7 Ben Martin -14
7 Gary Woodland -14
10 Chris Kirk -13
10 Kyle Stanley -13
10 Russell Knox -13
10 Ryan Blaum -13
VIDEO: FINAL-ROUND HIGHLIGHTS
“The first win was big, and this one is even bigger. To get a leg up on the FedExCup and go back to No. 1. Our ultimate goal is to be No. 1 at the end of the year. We’ve got a long way to go. A fast start is always a positive. I’m excited to be back on top and look forward to taking that Cup.”
–Patton Kizzire, 2018 Sony Open winner
Credit: PGA Tour Media, Getty Images