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Smith wins Sony Open after wild finish at Waialae

By DOUG FERGUSON

The Associated Press
HONOLULU — Cameron Smith was running out of holes, but not hope.
Smith was two shots behind with two holes to play in the steady rain Sunday at the Sony Open, and Brendan Steele had not shown any signs of cracking. Three holes later, Smith only had to two-putt from 10 feet to win a playoff.
“I just hung in there, and what do you know?” Smith said.
The 26-year-old Australian finally had a PGA Tour title he could call his own. He had won twice at the Australian PGA Championship, and he shared the team title with Jonas Blixt at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans in 2017.
For this PGA Tour victory, his help came from the guy he was trying to beat.
Steele had a three-shot lead at Waialae Country Club when he holed a bunker shot for birdie on the 11th hole, and he never trailed the entire day until it fell apart at the end. He missed a 6-foot par putt on the 17th, and then hit a wild hook from the fairway on the par-5 18th and never had a reasonable look at birdie.
On the 10th hole for the playoff, Steele was in ideal position in the fairway, 88 yards from the hole, when he hit wedge over the green. He chipped off the rain-soaked grass and mud to 15 feet and missed the par putt. Smith, who had driven into right rough, chased his shot to 10 feet. He never imagined winning would come down to two putts from short range.
“I thought I had to birdie 17 and do something special on 18,” Smith said. “Things fell into place.”
He helped with a clutch putt. On the 18th, Smith hit a 3-iron just short and into a bunker, blasted out over the puddles forming on the green to 8 feet and knocked it in for a 2-under 68 to force a playoff.
Steele was trying to win for the first time in just over two years. This was hard to take.
“Everything that could go wrong went wrong today,” Steele said after a 71.
The victory assures Smith a spot in the Masters. He also is assured a return to Hawaii next year for the Sentry Tournament of Champions at the Kapalua Plantation Course.
“That’s been one I’ve wanted to tick off for a long time, to finally say I’ve won an event by myself,” Smith said. “It’s quite good.”
They finished at 11-under 269, the highest winning score at the Sony Open in 15 years. The wind finally died to normal strength instead of 30 mph gusts, but the rain was steady, and the course was soaked.
Steele felt that might have cost him on the 10th, which had been playing straight into strong wind all week. At the end, it was nothing more than a strong breeze. The pin was back. The green was soft. Anything at the pin likely would spin off the shelf and leave a long putt, and Smith already was 10 feet away.
“I played the hole six times this week and it’s been blowing pretty hard every day,” he said. “I don’t really have a gauge for it to be blowing just 5 mph or whatever it was. I think I just over played it because of the way it’s been the last few days.”
Webb Simpson shot 67 and finished alone in third. With a bogey on the 18th, Ryan Palmer had to settle for a 68 and tied for fourth with Graeme McDowell, who had a 64 to match the low score Sunday.
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PGA Sony Open
Sunday’s Final Round • At Honolulu
Cameron Smith (500), $1,188,000 70-65-66-68–269 -11
Brendan Steele (300), $719,400 68-66-64-71–269 -11
Webb Simpson (190), $455,400 71-66-66-67–270 -10
Kevin Kisner (115), $277,750 69-69-64-69–271 -9
Graeme McDowell (115), $277,750 71-69-67-64–271 -9
Ryan Palmer (115), $277,750 67-68-68-68–271 -9
Lanto Griffin (88), $214,500 71-69-68-64–272 -8
Ted Potter, Jr. (88), $214,500 67-69-70-66–272 -8
Cameron Davis (75), $179,850 68-66-71-68–273 -7
Bo Hoag (75), $179,850 70-65-69-69–273 -7
Henrik Norlander (75), $179,850 71-66-68-68–273 -7
Keegan Bradley (54), $116,050 69-66-69-70–274 -6
Corey Conners (54), $116,050 68-71-69-66–274 -6
Joel Dahmen (54), $116,050 74-66-68-66–274 -6
Tom Hoge (54), $116,050 71-68-67-68–274 -6
Charles Howell III (54), $116,050 72-67-66-69–274 -6
Peter Malnati (54), $116,050 72-66-68-68–274 -6
Hideki Matsuyama (54), $116,050 74-67-67-66–274 -6
Brandt Snedeker (54), $116,050 72-67-69-66–274 -6
Vaughn Taylor (54), $116,050 75-66-66-67–274 -6
Mark Anderson (37), $64,350 72-68-64-71–275 -5
Emiliano Grillo (37), $64,350 70-69-67-69–275 -5
Sungjae Im (37), $64,350 69-68-67-71–275 -5
Collin Morikawa (37), $64,350 65-70-68-72–275 -5
Rob Oppenheim (37), $64,350 70-65-72-68–275 -5
Rory Sabbatini (37), $64,350 68-67-70-70–275 -5
Brendon Todd (37), $64,350 68-70-69-68–275 -5
Zach Johnson (29), $46,200 69-68-70-69–276 -4
Marc Leishman (29), $46,200 68-70-71-67–276 -4
Sam Ryder (29), $46,200 67-68-73-68–276 -4
D.J. Trahan (29), $46,200 69-68-71-68–276 -4
Brian Harman (22), $36,850 68-68-74-67–277 -3
Russell Knox (22), $36,850 70-65-70-72–277 -3
Matthew NeSmith (22), $36,850 71-69-69-68–277 -3
Alex Noren (22), $36,850 69-69-71-68–277 -3
Nick Taylor (22), $36,850 70-69-67-71–277 -3
Tim Wilkinson (22), $36,850 68-69-70-70–277 -3
Abraham Ancer (15), $27,390 69-71-69-69–278 -2
Daniel Berger (15), $27,390 70-70-69-69–278 -2
Michael Gellerman (15), $27,390 69-67-73-69–278 -2
Matt Jones (15), $27,390 67-71-70-70–278 -2
Patrick Rodgers (15), $27,390 68-69-69-72–278 -2
Chase Seiffert (15), $27,390 71-69-71-67–278 -2
Michael Thompson (15), $27,390 70-69-69-70–278 -2
Joseph Bramlett (9), $18,497 73-67-72-67–279 -1
Kramer Hickok (9), $18,497 72-68-71-68–279 -1
Rikuya Hoshino, $18,497 73-67-71-68–279 -1
Jerry Kelly (9), $18,497 70-70-71-68–279 -1
Ben Martin (9), $18,497 73-68-65-73–279 -1
Pat Perez (9), $18,497 68-73-66-72–279 -1
Scott Piercy (9), $18,497 70-69-71-69–279 -1
Jimmy Walker (9), $18,497 70-71-67-71–279 -1
Nate Lashley (6), $15,609 70-69-69-72–280 E
Carlos Ortiz (6), $15,609 72-69-71-68–280 E
Sepp Straka (6), $15,609 70-69-76-65–280 E
Brian Stuard (6), $15,609 73-68-72-67–280 E
Rhein Gibson (5), $14,916 70-69-73-69–281 +1
Scott Harrington (5), $14,916 69-71-71-70–281 +1
Harry Higgs (5), $14,916 73-68-72-68–281 +1
Joaquin Niemann (5), $14,916 71-70-71-69–281 +1
Andrew Putnam (5), $14,916 69-67-73-72–281 +1
Hudson Swafford (5), $14,916 69-67-75-70–281 +1
Zac Blair (4), $14,388 72-67-74-69–282 +2
Talor Gooch (4), $14,388 70-71-70-71–282 +2
Mikumu Horikawa, $14,190 73-67-76-67–283 +3
Satoshi Kodaira (4), $14,058 69-70-72-75–286 +6