Sunday, November 19, 2017
Golf

Fabian Gomez wins playoff to capture Sony Open

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HONOLULU — Fabian Gomez of Argentina closed with two birdies for 8-under 62, then made his 11th birdie of the day on the second playoff hole to beat Brandt Snedeker on Sunday in the Sony Open.

Gomez won for the second time on the PGA Tour, and this one was much tougher.

Starting the final round four shots behind, Gomez, 37, ran off seven straight birdies in the middle of his round, let Snedeker back in it with two bogeys, then holed a 10-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole and a 20-foot birdie from just off the 18th green to finish at 20-under 260.

Snedeker made a 4-foot birdie on the 18th for 66 to force the playoff.

Zac Blair, who shared the 54-hole lead with Snedeker, had a 10-foot eagle putt on the 18th hole to join them, but it missed on the high side. He had 67.

On the first playoff hole at the par-5 18th, Snedeker's 12-foot birdie for the win narrowly missed. Returning to the 18th a second time in the playoff — the hardest fairway to hit at Waialae on Sunday — Gomez went with a hybrid off the tee to stay in the short grass. His 3-iron reached the front of the green and set up a long two-putt birdie.

Snedeker hit driver into a bunker, laid up and hit wedge 10 feet behind the hole. His birdie attempt to extend the playoff slid by to the right.

"It's frustrating because I couldn't make putts to win the golf tournament," Snedeker said. He said leaving his 12-foot putt to win on the first playoff hole "is going to sting today and tomorrow."

Gomez won the St. Jude Classic last year by four shots and already was in the Masters. This victory will move him just outside the top 50 in the world ranking, greatly improving his chances of playing in the Olympics this summer.

His 62 was the lowest closing round by a Sony Open champion.

Blair saved par from 8 feet on the 16th hole to keep alive his chance, and he almost cashed in with what he called the best 3-wood of his life from 280 yards. "Oh my gosh, that's so good," Blair said as he watched it bound forward onto the green to 10 feet. He needed eagle to join the playoff. It stayed just above the hole.

"One of the best putts I've probably ever hit right there on 18," he said. "Unfortunately, it didn't go in."

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