Cameron Smith battled all day before finally overtaking Brendan Steele in a playoff today and winning the 2020 Sony Open in Hawaii.
After four windy, soggy and gray days at Waialae Country Club — plus the playoff — Smith emerged as the winner in a test of survival.
Smith birdied the playoff hole, the par-4 10th, after Steele missed a putt for par.
“Just had to hang in there,” Smith said.
Steele shot 1-over 71 and Smith 2-under 68 to end in the tie at 11-under for 72 holes.
In the playoff, Smith’s second shot, from the rough, landed on the green, 7 feet from the hole. Steele’s went over the green, hit a spectator and stopped about 25 feet from the hole, off the green. His chip went about 8 feet past the hole. His ensuing putt for par veered right.
“It hurts a lot,” Steele said. “Kind of everything that could go wrong went wrong.”
Smith had two putts to win it, and he tapped in the second one for par and the victory, his second on tour.
Steele started the final round at 12 under par, three strokes ahead of Smith in second. The lead slowly leaked away.
His bogey on No. 17 opened the door for Smith, Webb Simpson and Ryan Palmer. At that point all three were one shot behind at 10 under.
Simpson parred the 18th for 67 for the day, and finished third.
Palmer hit a high 3-wood out of a fairway bunker on No. 18 that hit a structure and sailed out of sight. After a three-minute search for the ball was unfruitful, Palmer had to re-hit with a penalty, and carded a bogey-6 to finish at 9 under and tied for fourth with Kevin Kisner and Graeme McDowell.
“Yeah, it’s unfortunate,” Palmer said. “I had a chance, but we went for it.”
Steele — in the last group after Palmer and Simpson’s — had to wait 15 minutes before teeing off on No. 18. He hit a beauty down the middle. But he had to wait 15 minutes again, and hit a wild second shot that went way to the left of the green, behind spectator stands. Because the ball was found, he was allowed a drop without a penalty.
Smith then shot out of a bunker onto the green.
Both players were then putting for birdie, Steele still leading by one.
Steele’s 25-foot putt for birdie stopped about a foot from the hole. Smith faced an 8-foot birdie putt to tie Steele, and made it. Steele then made his 1-footer for par, forcing the playoff.