HONOLULU, HAWAII | For the longest time, it
was the tournament no one wanted to win. That
is, until Johnson Wagner got a sniff of the lead
and he never let go.
Wagner shot a final-round, 3-under 67 to
sneak away from the pack and win The Sony Open
in Hawaii on Sunday. Wagner posted rounds of 68-
66-66 to go with his Sunday round for a score 267,
13-under par at the par-70 Waialae Country Club.
Wagner won for the third time in his career,
the second time in the past 12 months, having
captured the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico
last February. However, that was the only
top- 10 finish of the year for the 31-year-old
Wagner. His win at Mayakoba didn’t get him
an invitation to last year’s Masters. But he is
now assured of playing in the year’s first major
championship in April.
He has already doubled his top- 10 output for
this year, having finished tied for ninth at the
Hyundai Tournament of Champions two weeks
ago in the first event of the season at Kapalua
on the island of Maui.
Wagner started the final day tied for third,
two shots behind 54-hole co-leaders Jeff Maggert and Matt Every. And after six holes of the
last round, Wagner was 1 over for the round.
But he birdied the par- 3 seventh and was back
in the race.
Wagner took the lead for good with two
straight birdies around the turn, making a
birdie four on the par- 5 ninth and an up-and-down from a greenside bunker after nearly
driving the green at the short par- 4 10th. He
gave himself a two-shot cushion with a birdie at
the par- 4 15th.
Johnson Wagner made The Sony
Open his third career victory.
in the final round and neither was ever a serious contender for the title. Maggert fell down the
leaderboard by going 4 over through 15 holes.
Every bogeyed his first two holes of the day Sunday and three-putted the par- 4 sixth for a double-bogey and was effectively done for the day.
At one point, when Maggert, Sean O’Hair
and Carl Petterson were midway through their
front nine, 20 players were within two shots of
the lead. But that was until Wagner nosed out
Harrison Frazar spent his back nine one
shot in back of Wagner after a birdie at the 10th
got him to 11 under. But he didn’t make another
birdie on the back nine and finished tied for
second at 269 with O’Hair, Carl Petterson and
Charles Howell III. O’Hair and Petterson shot 67
while Howell posted 69.