Sony Open in Hawaii
Winner’s Share: $1,188,000
Playing out of the final threesome and with preferred lies in effect, World No. 54 Cameron Smith erased a three-shot deficit with 2-under-par 34-34=68 in Sunday’s final round to match overnight leader and playing competitor Brendan Steele (71) on 11-under 269, and then in fading daylight, defeated him with a two-putt par on the first playoff hole, the par-4 10th.
The Aussie, a pre-tourney 60/1 outright, bags his second TOUR title in 116 events, first individually, and first since the 2017 Zurich Classic 63 starts ago teamed with Jonas Blixt, which the pair won in extra time after being the 54-hole leaders by four.
The duo won that one – in an unscheduled Monday finish – with a Smith birdie-4 on the fourth hole of sudden-death in Avondale, Louisiana. This time around, it was another birdie-4, to force the playoff, and then needed just one extra hole to dispatch a faltering Steele and hoist the trophy.
“Yeah, I’ve been out here four or five years now, and to finally say that I’ve won an event by myself is quite good,” said the 26-year-old from Brisbane afterwards.
Final Leaderboard (DraftKings pre-tourney odds outright):
P1- (-11) Cameron Smith (60/1)
P2- (-11) Brendan Steele (225/1)
3- (-10) Webb Simpson (14/1)
4- (-9) Graeme McDowell (100/1)
4- (-9) Ryan Palmer (70/1)
4- (-9) Kevin Kisner (35/1)
Note: Consecutive top-10 finishers in the event: Simpson (3-4)
Steele, who led by two at the break and still led by two with two-to-play, finished bogey-par, while Smith caught him with a par-birdie finish, including an 8’7” left-to-righter on the 72nd hole of regulation.
Considering Smith began the week 4-over through his first two holes (bogey-5, triple bogey-7), and was donating funds for birdies and eagles to victims of the bush fires in Australia, it was some comeback.
“It was tough the first three days to make birdies and I managed to scrape in a few. Every one of them, every birdie putt I had, just meant a little more. Rather than kind of wanting to make them, it almost felt like I had to make it. The birdie putt on 18, I felt as though standing over it, I kind of already holed it in my mind.”
This was Smith’s first top-10 at the Sony in five tries but third straight top-25. He checked in off a T10 at the Australian PGA three weeks ago – as a two-time defender – preceded the week prior by a 1-1-1 record at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in his Presidents Cup debut.
Smith, who resides in Jacksonville, Florida, is not in the field at this coming week’s American Express in California.
Smith’s Position by Round:
R1: T31 (5 back)
R2: T3 (1 back)
R3: 2 (3 back)
Steele’s Position by Round:
R1: T6 (3 back)
R3: 1 (by 3)
Leader/co-leaders by Round:
R1: Collin Morikawa (finished: T21): Drops to 0-for-1 as 18-hole leader/co-leader
R2: Brendan Steele (P2): Drops to 1-for-7 as 36-hole leader/co-leader
R2: Cameron Davis (T9): Drops to 0-for-1
R3: Brendan Steele (P2): Drops to 1-for-5 as 54-hole leader/co-leader
R4: Cameron Smith (P1): Playoff Record: 2-0
R4: Brendan Steele (P2): Playoff Record: 0-1
How Smith Won the Tournament:
Ranked 1st (or T1) in: Total Birdies; Birdie or Better Percentage; SG: Putting
Ranked 2nd(or T2) in: Birdie to Bogey Ratio; Putts per GIR; All-Around
Note: See “Leaders in Selected & Strokes Gained Stats” at the bottom, along with his full stats.
Lowest-Ranked Stat(s): 3+ Bogeys (T63); SG: Approach (53rd); Driving Accuracy (T41); SG: Tee-to-Green (30th)
Smith at Sony:
Top 25s: 3
Top 10s: 1
Top 5s: 1
Cuts Made: 5
Top 25s: 4
Top 10s: 2
Top 5s: 2
Smith’s TOUR Career:
Cuts Made: 77 (66.3%)
Top 25s: 38 (32.7%)
Top 10s: 18 (15.5%)
Top 3s: 6 (5.1%)
Wins: 2 (1.7%)
Wins by Season:
2015: -- (STM)
Smith on Sunday:
After opening with 70-65-66, he began solo 2nd, three back.
On 11 (of 14) fairways and 12 greens in regulation, Smith lost 2.073 strokes approaching but gained 1.032 strokes off-the-tee and 0.649 around-the-green.
Down one coming to the 72nd hole, he found the fairway off-the-tee, hit his second from 247 yards out 224 yards into the front, left greenside bunker, and then got up and down for birdie from 83’4” away.
In all, Smith outpaced two bogeys at 4 and 15 (ironically failed sand saves), with four birdies at 1, 9, 12 and 18, two from the 8- to 9-foot range.
He posted 1.750 putts per GIR and 1.165 SG: Putting with 29 total putts.
OUT: 1-under 34 (2 birdies, 1 bogey); 2nd, trailed by 2
IN: 1-under 34 (2 birdies, 1 bogey); WINS in playoff
In extra time, Smith went first and hit his drive into the right rough, leaving 111 yards, but hit a brilliant recovery to 10’1”.
Steele, in the fairway, airmailed his second from 88 yards out (hit it 101 yards), and after a nervy chip-shot, missed his par-saver from 14’3”.
Smith needing two putts for the win, cozied his first and then tapped-in from 3 inches for the victory.
For the week, he totaled 21 birdies, T1 in that stat, against seven bogeys and one triple.
By the Numbers:
4/1: Smith’s revised outright betting entering R4.
6/4: Steele’s revised outright betting entering R4.
1: Smith ranked 53rd in SG: Approach but 9th in SG: Around and No. 1 in SG: Putting.
-3.614: Steele ranked 5th in SG: Putting (5.950) but lost a whopping 3.614 on-the-green in the finale.
44: 54-hole leader Steele was inside the top-10 at the three-quarter pole for the first time in 44 starts.
2016: Smith is the first international to win the Sony since Fabian Gomez in 2016, who also won in a playoff.
2013: Smith is the first Sony winner since Russell Henley in 2013, who didn’t play the Sentry TOC on Maui the week before.
2: Steele, chasing his fourth TOUR title, first since the 2018 Safeway 50 starts ago, records his second runner-up in 229 events, first since T2 at the 2015 Humana Challenge.
24: Webb Simpson, who missed birdie at the last from 15’0” to join the playoff, records his 24thtop-3 finish in 286 events. It’s his second this season in three starts, joining a P2 at the RSM in his last start seven weeks ago.
2: Through 13 (non-team) events this season, the pre-tourney fave/co-fave has won two times: Rory McIlroy (6/1) at WGC-HSBC, and Justin Thomas (13/2) at THE CJ CUP. Last season, two fave/co-faves won (in 45 non-team events): McIlroy (12/1 co-fave) at THE PLAYERS, and Collin Morikawa at the opposite-field Barracuda (10/1).
5/1: Thomas, going for his second Aloha Double (2017), was a pre-tourney 5/1 fave outright and top-ranked OWGRer at No. 4. He MC by two on 3-over 143 (72-71). For the short week, he ranked 4th in SG: OTT (2.587) but 136th in SG: Putting (-4.408).
16: 16 (of 21) TOUR rookies were in the field with Bo Hoag taking top-rookie honors with T9 on 7-under 273 (70-65-69-69). He improves to 8-for-9 on the season with three top-25s, and records his first top-10 in his 12th career start.
30: Of 30 first-timers, Hoag was also top debutant.
22: 22 (of 34) from last week’s Sentry TOC teed it up with 13 of those missing the cut. The best-finishers were McDowell, Palmer and Kisner, who all shared 4th-place.
Field Scoring Average:
This was the 55thplaying of the Sony with all 55 contested at Waialae CC.
Scorecard Yardage: 7,044
Par: 70 (35-35)
R1: 71.993; preferred lies, contested over two days
R2: 70.259; preferred lies
R3: 69.576; preferred lies
R4: 68.773; preferred lies
SG: Total: 11.600
A total of 66 pros from a field of 143 pros and one amateur made the 36-hole cut of 1-over 141:
25 (of 72) EARLY/late
41 (of 71) LATE/early; 1 WD
Lanto Griffin (T7)
*Note: Smith is the third straight LATE/early winner at the Sony.
8 (of 13) tourneys so far this season with a traditional draw:
LATE/early: 2 (Smith)
Strength of Field:
With a Strength of Field rating of 275 (down 63 from last season), Smith banks 46.00 world-ranking points and 500 FedExCup points:
OWGR: From 54 to 31 (up 23)
*Note: Smith’s career-high OWGR is 24th (after 2019 API)
FEC: From 40 to 5 (up 35); career high
R1: 65: Collin Morikawa
R1: (1): Collin Morikawa (65)
R3: (0): NONE
Multiple Bogey-free Rounds:
6 winners were in their 20s (Smith age: 26)
6 were in their 30s
1 was in their 40s
Season Leaders in Top-10 Finishes:
Consecutive Top 10s on TOUR:
4: Xander Schauffele (P2-P2-10-2)
3: Webb Simpson (3-P2-7)
3: Gary Woodland (7-5-3)
3: Rory McIlroy (P1-3-1)
2: Henrik Norlander (9-5)
Consecutive Top-10 Streak Ended at:
2: Vaughn Taylor (12-10-2)
2: Carlos Ortiz (53-2-4)
2: Abraham Ancer (38-8-4)
Smith’s Weekly Stats (ranking of 66 players):
Bogeys: 7 (T8)
3+ Bogeys: 1 (T63)
Birdie or Better: 29.17% (T1)
Birdie to Bogey Ratio: 2.63 (2nd)
Par-3 Scoring: 2.94 (T6)
Par-4 Scoring: 3.92 (3rd)
Par-5 Scoring: 4.25 (T13)
Driving Accuracy: 36/56 (T41) at 64.29%
Driving Distance (all drives): 285.0 yards (14th)
GIR: 52/72 (T20) at 70.83%
Proximity to Hole: 34’6” (18th)
Putts per GIR: 1.686 (T2)
Total Putts: 111 (T4)
Putts by Round: 27-29-26-29
Scrambling: 14/21 (T20) at 66.67%
Leaders in Selected Stats:
Total Par Breakers:
T1. Cameron Smith (21)
T1. Brendan Steele (21)
T1. Webb Simpson (21)
4. Graeme McDowell (19)
5. Michael Gellerman (18)
Birdie to Bogey Ratio:
1. Kevin Kisner (3.00)
2. Cameron Smith (2.63)
3. Webb Simpson (2.33)
4. Brandt Snedeker (2.14)
5. Ryan Palmer (2.13)
Leaders in Strokes Gained Stats:
1. Ryan Palmer (5.492)
2. Marc Leishman (4.398)
3. Cameron Davis (3.931)
4. Joaquin Niemann (3.851)
5. Lanto Griffin (3.749)
18. Cameron Smith (1.842)
1. Marc Leishman (6.767)
2. Brendan Steele (6.447)
3. Russell Knox (5.894)
4. Hideki Matsuyama (5.782)
5. Kevin Kisner (5.288)
53. Cameron Smith (-0.835)
1. Rhein Gibson (4.054)
2. Hudson Swafford (3.728)
3. Kevin Kisner (3.394)
4. Collin Morikawa (3.170)
5. Sepp Straka (3.100)
9. Cameron Smith (2.361)
1. Cameron Smith (8.232)
2. Henrik Norlander (8.175)
3. Matthew NeSmith (6.550)
4. Mikumu Horikawa (6.114)
5. Brendan Steele (5.950)
1. Kevin Kisner (10.528)
2. Hideki Matsuyama (10.024)
3. Marc Leishman (8.736)
4. Cameron Davis (7.996)
5. Alex Noren (7.420)
30. Cameron Smith (3.368)