Sony Open in Hawaii

Sony Open in Hawaii

Sony Open in Hawaii
Honolulu, Hawaii
Winner: Matt Kuchar

There’s that old commentary on the passing of time that says “Youth must be served,” and it was clearly true in the Sony Open in Hawaii, the PGA Tour’s first full-field event of 2019. Matt Kuchar was on hand, beaming with that same youthful smile but thin on top and 40 now. But he did keep faith with the old adage. He served youth memorably — with a huge helping of how-to. “I think it’s an exciting time to be part of the tour,” Kuchar noted later, “to see all these young players come out and do great things.”

It was a pretty fair show, as well, by a guy of 40. That was a four-shot win, and not as comfy as the margin suggested. Kuchar led from the second round, but had to rally down the final stretch to regain the lead from Andrew Putnam and do a birdie sprint to lock up the win. He whipped the par-70 Waialae course in 63-63-66-66 for a 22-under 258.

“The frustrating thing was, I felt like I was doing some good things and just not seeing results,” Kuchar said. “Nice to see it turn around.” From the start, it was clear that Waialae would take a thumping. Canada’s Adam Svensson, 25, a tour rookie, opened with a flawless nine-under 61 and led by one. “It was all a blur,” Svensson said. “I don’t even remember which holes I birdied.” Putnam was second at 62 and Kuchar third at 63. And 75 of the field of 144 were below par. Starting the second round from No. 10, Kuchar birdied four of the first five and eagled his ninth, the par-five 18th, off a 261-yard second to 16 feet, on his way to another 63. “Unexpected, but awfully excited,” he said. He led Putnam (65) by one. Among the day’s oddities, Chez Reavie, shooting 65, had three eagles, a record for one round, and all on hole-outs at par-four holes — No. 10 (his first hole) from 101 yards, No. 16 from 149 and No. 6 from 135. “I need to go buy a lottery ticket today, I think,” Reavie said.

Kuchar inched another stroke ahead of Putnam with a flawless 66 in the third round, and then, after having made only one bogey in three rounds, he staggered early in the fourth, going bogey-birdie-bogey-bogey from No. 2. “I knew if I stayed the course … not letting that get the best of me, that some good stuff was going to happen,” Kuchar said.

utnam led through the turn, then Kuchar took control after Putnam’s bogey at the 14th. Kuchar notched three of his five back-nine birdies over the last four holes on putts of 12 feet at 15, 11 at 16 and two putts from 34 feet at 18, and it added up to a four-shot win. And a rainbow stretched across the sky. “It was too cool,” Kuchar said, “to have a rainbow appear on the 18th hole.”


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