Wagner Wins Sony Open

Posted: January 17, 2012 by Kodi in Hitting the Greens

Going into the final day of the Sony Open Matt Every and Jeff Maggert were in the lead but there were six players who had the share of the lead at some point during the last round. Johnson Wagner and his moustache finished the final 9 holes bogey free and finished two shots ahead of Carl Pettersson, Sean O’Hair, Harrison, Frazar and Charles Howell III. As for Every and Maggert, Matt was 4 over through the first 6 holes finishing strong with a 72 while Jeff just couldn’t get it together on the putting green missing multiple short putts and shooting a final round 74. Every finished in a tie for 6th with his -10 for the tournament while Maggert dropped all the way into a tie for 13th.

Johnson Wagner was a touted young golfer when he came out of Virginia Tech in 2002 but since then he has been to Q school 5 times and secured just his 3rd PGA Tour victory with his -13 at Waialae. His last win was in 2011 at the Mayakoba Golf Classic at the Riviera Maya-Cancun and his first was the 2008 Shell Houston Open. He has just a handful of top 10 finishes (7) and his win in Mexico was his only top 10 finish of last season but having a bogey free back 9 in the Sony Open allowed him to claim an early season victory.

It wasn’t just the final round that he shot bogey free in the back 9 it was the entire tournament and was a combined -14 on those holes which is why he won the $990,000 purse and improved from his 9th place finish last week at Kapalua. Wagner shot an opening round 68 and was 5 shots behind Graham DeLaet who went on to have two rounds of 72 and finished tied for 29th. Wagner’s victory over the weekend means that he is eligible for the Masters and Wagner has promised to keep his facial hair until then.

Carl Pettersson shot an opening round 65 and was just a few strokes back of the leader the entire tournament but his 3rd round 70 ultimately kept him out of the winner circle. That wasn’t the only thing that impeded on his ability to grab victory, his double bogey on 2 immediately deflated his sails and made his battle that much more difficult.  He made a great attempt of coming back shooting birdies on 4 of the final 6 holes but in the end he fell just short.

Steve Stricker once again showed us just how difficult it is to start the season off with two victories shooting an abnormal 74 on Sunday.  He is one of the most consistent putters in the Tour but missed many in the final round and shot over par for just the 6th time in 50 career rounds at the Sony Open falling into a tie for 38th. The last player to win the first two events of the year was Ernie Els.

It may be tough to swallow but Charles Howell III had his 13th career runner-up finish and is frustrated that he has won just 2 PGA Tour championships. He has finished 2nd place in this tournament 6 times since 2002 and he has never short worse than even par in his 18 rounds at Waialae. “Any other tournament, encouraged” Howell said about his performance but “here, maybe a little bit frustrated. He shot a final round 69 and was just 2 strokes behind Wagner at the end of the last hole.

The low round of the tournament was shot by Zimbabwe’s Brendon De Jonge who had a 62 in the second round at the Sony Open. He was bogey free for the entire round scoring birdies on 2, 3, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16 and 18 but sandwiched that round in between a couple of 71’s and a 3rd round score of 67. He played well enough to finish tied for 7th but the big guy just couldn’t capitalize on the best round of the tournament. In the end it was Johnson Wagner’s new look that left Hawaii victorious and the players will prepare for their next tournament.

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