Primetime Hawaii golf does it again. Putts were falling and fireworks were flying all week, as each of the first three days had a round of six-under par. Would Sunday include another? Before we get into the final round of the 2021 Sony Open in Hawaii, let’s recap the first three rounds.
Joaquin Niemann, the runner-up at last week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions, continued his good play in the first round. Niemann ended his first round at eight-under par and tied for the lead with Peter Malnati and Jason Kokrak.
After the strong first rounds, Niemann and Malnati followed up with one-under par rounds, while Kokrak shot a one-over par round. The way the rest of the field was playing, one-over par is losing a lot of ground. Keith Mitchell and Nick Taylor jumped into contention as they followed up their first rounds with eight-under rounds themselves.
While Niemann finished a subpar second round, his seven-under third round gave him a tie for second and two behind the leader. Kevin Na, who was tied with Niemann in second, had a great nine-under round, as did the leader by two, Brendan Steele. Steele finished second in the 2020 Sony Open in Hawaii after losing to Cameron Smith in a playoff and looks to redeem himself in 2021.
Sunday at the 2021 Sony Open in Hawaii
Kevin Na shortened the lead to one stroke with a birdie at the second while Niemann fell to three behind with a bogey at the third.
Tournament favorite Webb Simpson jumped into the mix with a four-under par front nine after an eagle at the ninth, now sitting one back.
Brendan Steele found the bottom of the cup on the seventh for a birdie, extending the lead to two once again. An eagle at the ninth extended the lead to three at 21-under par as Billy Horschel gets a birdie to get to 18-under par.
Webb Simpson found a hazard on the 11th hole, dropping to three behind. Simpson would birdie three holes on the back nine and finish at 19-under par, taking the clubhouse lead for a short time.
A bogey at the 10th for Steele brings his lead down to one as Horschel gets another birdie at the 12th.
Chris Kirk jumped into the mix with three birdies in a row to reach 18-under par and be within one stroke with four holes to play.
Another bogey for Steele, matched with a Na birdie, at the 14th gives us a four-way tie for the lead at 19-under par with Webb Simpson, Kevin Na, Brendan Steele, and Chris Kirk.
Na would get another birdie at the 15th to take the solo lead with three to play, while Chris Kirk would tie him with a birdie at the 18th and take the clubhouse lead at 20-under par, setting the score to beat.
Needing a birdie to win, Kevin Na chips it close on the par-five 18th and taps it in for the win. It is Na’s fifth win on the PGA Tour and first since the 2019 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
The Final Leaderboard
Shots of the Week
Jason Kokrak was tied for the lead after round one at eight-under par. I think it’s fair to say this tee shot helped.
William McGirt missed the cut this week after a weak two-under thru two rounds. Before this, he made one highlight reel shot to remember on his flight home.
Joaquin Niemann entered the final round at 16-under par after a strong third round. This shot the 18th helped set him up with a chance to win on Sunday.
Shot(s) of the Week
Kevin Na won the tournament at 21-under par. These shots were to reach 19-under and 20-under par.
Takeaways of the Week
Hawaii Golf Is Always Fun
Primetime golf is a great gift. While this round was moved up because of weather in Hawaii, it was still better than golf being finished at 6:00 PM EST.
The views from the course are awesome, no matter what hole or course they play. As well, the quality of golf is great. Low scores seem to be found in these courses, and I think they will continue in the future.
I’ll be honest, I was wrong. I had Hideki Matsuyama as the winner of the tournament. After round two, he was one stroke back of the lead and I was confident he could finish with a win. Sadly, Na and Steele shot well under par on Saturday and pulled away.
Now, for my score prediction. I’m happy with my prediction of 19-under par. Yes, the winner was 21-under par, but I am happy to be within two strokes. Although I didn’t bet on it, I’m happy with it.
Ralph Lauren Drops Justin Thomas
While this doesn’t have anything to do with the tournament play, the news came out Saturday afternoon. Ralph Lauren dropped Justin Thomas and ended their partnership after Thomas was caught on a mic saying a homophobic slur during the 2021 Sentry Tournament of Champions. We don’t know what this means for Thomas’ future sponsors or Ralph Lauren’s future faces of golf, but it is something we will keep an eye out for at Belly Up Sports.