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Rediff.com  » Sports » American Wagner wins Sony Open by two shots

American Wagner wins Sony Open by two shots

January 16, 2012 11:14 IST

American Johnson Wagner, ice-cool until the very last hole, won his third PGA Tour title by two shots after shaking off a tightly bunched pack of pursuers at the Sony Open in Hawaii on Sunday.

Two strokes off the pace going into the final round at a breezy Waialae Country Club, Wagner played error-free golf over the back nine to close with a three-under-par 67.

The 31-year-old Texan recorded two birdies after the turn to post a 13-under total of 267 in the PGA Tour's first full-field event of the season.

His only moment of concern came at the par-five last where he hit his third shot from a greenside bunker to 10 feet, lagged his approach putt 18 inches short and then wobbled his par putt into the cup via the right edge.

"It was a little shaky," a smiling Wagner said greenside. "Leaving that birdie putt short was pretty pathetic really, but knowing that I had four from there sure made it easier.

Johnson Wagner"I am really excited. I worked really hard this off-season, had a lot of help from my coach, my trainer and my caddie.

"I kind of told everybody I was going to win early this year and man, it feels good to do it," said Wagner, who won his maiden PGA Tour title at the 2008 Houston Open.

Harrison Frazar, one of six players who held at least a share of the lead in the final round, carded a 67 to tie for second with fellow Americans Sean O'Hair (67) and Charles Howell III (69) and Swede Carl Pettersson (67).

American Matt Every, co-leader overnight with Jeff Maggert, bogeyed three of the first four holes on the way to a 72 and joint sixth place at 10 under with compatriots Michael Thompson (67), Brian Gay (67) and DA Points (69).

SCORING TRICKY

With the ocean breezes making scoring tricky on the firm, palm tree-lined Waialae layout, the final round proved to be an unpredictable shootout as the birdies and bogeys piled up.

At one point, 21 players were within three strokes off the lead but Wagner made the most significant move of the day when he edged one ahead after knocking in an 11-foot birdie putt at the par-four 10th.

Playing rock-solid golf, he then forged two strokes clear by sinking a 12-footer from just off the green at the par-four 15th before pumping his right fist in celebration.

"That was huge," Wagner said of his birdie on 15. "It barely crept in. I knew I had been tied or one ahead and I told myself I wasn't looking until I hit it off the 16th hole.

"And after I hit it in the 16th fairway and saw that it (his lead) was two shots, it was huge. Having that two-shot cushion was really nice."

World number five Steve Stricker, who won the PGA Tour's season-opening Tournament of Champions on Monday, signed off with three successive bogeys for a 74 and a four-under total.

American Stricker had been aiming to become the first player since South African Ernie Els in 2003 to win the first two events of the year in Hawaii.

 

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