The PGA Tour’s fortnight in Hawaii came to an end in exciting fashion as Kevin Na held off a cast of contenders to win by a shot and notch his fifth career PGA Tour win. Here’s everything you need to know from Sunday’s final round at Waialae Country Club:
Leaderboard: Na (-21), Chris Kirk (-20), Joaquin Niemann (-20), Webb Simpson (-19), Marc Leishman (-19), Brendan Steele (-19)
What it means: It took Na about 10 years, or 369 starts, to notch his first PGA Tour victory (2011). Now, the 37-year-old Na has won for the fourth straight season, and in a span of 55 starts, thanks to a final-round, 5-under 65. After making the Tour Championship last season, Na was without a top-10 finish in six starts this season, though he had made all but one cut. After this win, Na is up to No. 23 in the world – his goal this year is to crack the top 20 – and he’s suddenly on the U.S. Ryder Cup radar.
How it happened: Na, who almost withdrew from the event on Wednesday because of a rib injury, entered the final round two shots back of Steele, but as Steele struggled off the tee down the stretch, Na came alive. Na birdied Nos. 13, 14 and 15 to take the lead, and then got up and down from behind the 18th green for another birdie to break a tie with Kirk.
Just missed: While Kirk didn’t get the win, he will leave Honolulu feeling accomplished. Kirk was making the final start of his major medical extension this week after stepping away from golf in May 2019 to address depression and alcoholism, and he needed just over 148 FedExCup points, or a two-way tie for third or better, at Sony to retain full status. He got up and down for birdie on his 72nd hole to satisfy the requirements of his extension. Meanwhile, Niemann canned a 57-footer for birdie at the penultimate hole, but needing eagle on the last, he found the sand on his first two shots and settled for birdie and his second straight runner-up finish on Tour.
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Shot of the day: No shot had bigger meaning than Kirk’s third at No. 18, a short-sided, 25-yard flop to inside of 2 feet to set up a huge birdie.
Biggest disappointment: Steele. It took the 54-hole leader, who lost the Sony in a playoff last year, seven holes to make a birdie on Sunday. After birdieing No. 7 and capping the front nine with an eagle, Steele had a bad three-putt at No. 10 and then missed several fairways as part of a birdie-less, 2-over 37 final nine.
Quote of the day: In shades of Kevin Kisner, here’s Na during his winner’s presser: “I felt like Waialae is a golf course I really have a chance at, and there’s not too many of these left anymore, so I have to take advantage of it. What a great feeling to win at a golf course I really feel like I can win at.”