Palmer captures Sony Open
Palmer, locked in a duel with Australia’s Allenby to the very end at Waialae, came up short of the green on the par-5 18th and faced a delicate chip. Allenby went over the green and pitched to just inside 10 feet.
Palmer thought his chip was a little too hard, and he tumbled backward in relief when the ball struck the pin squarely. Allenby missed his birdie putt, and Palmer tapped in for a 4-under 66 and his third career PGA Tour victory.
“Lucky bounce,” Palmer said. “It was probably going to go by 7 or 8 feet. I still hit a good chip. You need things like that to win.”
The victory gave made the 33-year-old Texan exempt on the PGA Tour through 2012, and earned him a trip back to the Masters for the first time in five years.
Edgerton native Steve Stricker, who also shared the lead briefly on the back nine, had a 65 to finish third, two strokes back. Two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen of South Africa closed with a 62 and was atop the leaderboard as Palmer and Allenby were making the turn, although his 12-under 268 never looked as though it would be enough.
Allenby was trying to win his third consecutive tournament on three tours, a feat believed to have never been accomplished, and he gave himself every chance. He played bogey-free on the back nine, but he needed one more birdie. His second shot out of the rough on the 18th came out hot and over the green, and he did well to give himself a realistic chance at birdie and a playoff.
Allenby, who won the Nedbank Challenge on the Sunshine Tour and the Australian PGA Championship on the Australasian PGA Tour at the end of last year, closed with a 67.
“I had a couple of chances out there,” Allenby said. “It’s so easy to look back and say, ‘I could have made that, I could have made that.’ But at the end of the day, realistically, I needed to make a birdie at the last.”
Palmer finished at 15-under 265 and earned $990,000.
Last updated: 12:38 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012