Palmer wins see-saw Sony thriller
Ryan Palmer landed his third US PGA Tour title on Sunday when he beat Robert Allenby in a 72 hole thriller at the Sony Open.
American Ryan Palmer landed his third US PGA Tour title on Sunday when he beat Australian Robert Allenby in a 72 hole thriller at the Sony Open in Honolulu.
Having duelled all day in the final group of the day, the Australian missed a 10-foot putt at the last to leave his fellow overnight leader with a tap-in birdie for victory at the par-70 Waialae Country Club.
Palmer admitted he had got lucky
“You need things like that to win,” he said of his chip hitting the flag at the last.
“I came out here with a lot of hopes for the year and wanted to get off to a good start. My body felt great all week and I was strong mentally, stuck to my guns and took every day one at a time.”
Allenby, who had struggled with a twisted ankle all week, said he was not too disappointed with the final outcome, despite missing out on a first title on the PGA Tour since the 2001 Marconi Pennsylvania Classic.
“I gave myself a chance, that’s all I can do but Ryan played awesome,” Allenby said. “And that’s golf, sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t.”
Palmer’s closing four-under 66 and 15-under par total gave him a one-stroke victory over Allenby (67) with Steve Stricker, at number 3 the highest ranked player in the field, a further shot back following a 66.
Retief Goosen had earlier set a low target with a stunning eight-under-par 62 and the South African held the clubhouse lead until Stricker finished in the third from last group.
In ideal conditions, Goosen, having recovered from an opening bogey, posted nine birdies around the par-70, 7,068-yard Hawaiian course to match his career lowest round, scored at the 2001 Scottish Open at Loch Lomond.
The 62 moved Goosen to 12 under par for the tournament, with Allenby and Palmer going out in the final group on 11 under.
Allenby opened with a birdie with Palmer doing the same at the third before both bogeyed the fourth hole to fall back to 11 under.
Palmer bounced straight back, though, and moved into the outright lead with birdies at the fifth, eighth, and 10th to get to 14 under, Allenby having recouped a shot at the ninth.
Stricker also moved into contention with six birdies and a bogey getting him to 13 under after 13 holes and when Palmer dropped a shot at the 11th the Americans were in a tie for the lead.
Allenby made it three with a birdie at the 12th, but then Palmer continued his rollercoaster and after going birdie, bogey, he went birdie, bogey, birdie to end up back at 14 under.
Stricker fell away with a bogey at the 15th but Allenby again kept pace with another birdie at the same hole.
With Allenby and Palmer on 14 under, Stricker gave himself a chance with a birdie at the 17th but failed to sink a birdie putt at 18 to close with a 65 at 13 under.
The leaders went to the par-five final hole in a tie with both men missing the fairway right with their tee shots.
Palmer came up short of the green while Allenby was also left with a pitch after his approach ran over the green and up against a camera tower.
The Australian took a free drop but got a bad lie, nevertheless rolling his ball to 10 feet from the hole. That left Palmer with a chip-in for victory. He rifled his ball straight against the flagpole and instead of flying beyond the hole it stopped inches from the cup.
There was more fortune for the American when Allenby missed his putt and Palmer stepped up to tap in for victory.
Goosen finished alone in fourth while a 64 from Charles Howell III sent him to 12 under in a tie for fifth place with Sweden’s Carl Pettersson (66) and Davis Love III (67).
Best of the Brits was Justin Rose who finished strongly with a 64 to get to eight under and a tie for 12th on his 2010 debut. His first and third rounds of 72 and 71 prevented a higher finish, the Englishman having posted a second-round 65.
Fellow Englishman Brian Davis closed with a 73 to finish at two over par.
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