PGA Tour veteran Matt Kuchar started slowly today. But he picked up steam and birdies throughout a sultry afternoon at Waialae Country Club to win the Sony Open in Hawaii for the first time.
Kuchar shot 4-under par in today’s final round, completing a 22-under par effort of 63-63-66-66—258 for the event. Andrew Putnam was second at 62-65-67-68—262 for 18-under.
Kuchar, 40, won his ninth PGA Tour event and became the event’s fourth different winner since Jimmy Walker captured back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015. Kuchar takes home $1,152.000 of the $6,400,000 prize pool.
Putnam, who started the day two shots behind Kuchar, took the lead when Kuchar carded a bogey on No. 5, and held it for the rest of the front nine. Then Kuchar’s four birdies on the first seven holes after the turn put him three shots ahead of Putnam with two holes left to play.
“Knew I was playing good golf,” Kuchar said. “Knew if I stayed the course, continued just plodding along and not letting (the bad start) get the best of me, that some good stuff was going to happen.”
Kuchar took the lead when Putnam made his only bogey of the round on No. 14.
“Momentum flipped a bit,” Putnam said.
Kuchar made his seventh and final birdie of the round with a short putt on No. 18, after which he raised his arms in triumph.
“It was too cool to have a rainbow appear on the 18th hole,” he said. “I had never had a tournament with a three-shot lead going into 18 where you kind of feel like just it was my tournament and could really enjoy the 18th hole.”
Kuchar finished in the top ten here in four of his five previous Sony Open appearances. His best finishes here before today were a tie for third in 2015 and T4 at his second Sony appearance, in 2002. Kuchar’s most recent victory was at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico last November.
“I’m tickled, thrilled to have won two events this early in the year,” Kuchar said.
Defending champion Patton Kizzire, who outlasted James Hahn in six playoff holes last year, finished tied for 12th at 13-under par.