Sunday, January 18, 2009.
HONOLULU -- Zach Johnson closed with a 5-under 65 on Sunday for a two-shot victory in the Sony Open, ending his two-week stay in Hawaii by playing his final six rounds in 30-under par.
Johnson, whose 64-67 last weekend at Kapalua gave him a tie for sixth, outlasted David Toms in a well-played duel along the back nine of Waialae to build a two-shot lead, then eliminated any drama with a two-putt birdie on the 18th for the second victory in his last six starts.
Tadd Fujikawa, the 18-year-old from Honolulu trying to become the youngest winner in the PGA Tour history, started the final round two shots out of the lead, but never got any closer as he struggled to a 73 and tied for 32nd.
"I just couldn't get anything going," said Fujikawa, who resumes his senior year in high school on Monday.
Johnson finished at 15-under 265 to earn his fifth career victory.
Toms, who won the Sony Open three years ago, had to settle for a strong start to his season. He finished out of the top 125 on the money list last year and is trying to qualify for the big events that for years were a regular part of his schedule.
He kept the pressure on Johnson over the final holes, making a 4-foot birdie on the 15th to pull within one shot and saving par from the bunker on the 17th with a 12-foot putt to stay one shot behind going to the last hole.
But he tried to take too much off the corner of the dogleg and left it in the bunker. Then came an aggressive play with a hybrid that went only about 80 yards into the rough, and had too difficult a lie to get the ball close for birdie.
Johnson reached the green in two and lagged his putt within 18 inches.
Toms closed with a 66 and tied for second with Adam Scott, who gave himself a late chance with a 64. Scott left a 10-foot birdie putt short on the 17th, and he knew his birdie on the 18th to finish at 13-under 267 would not be enough.
"It was nice to get on the back nine and have a chance, and get the competitive nerves going again," Scott said. "I really enjoyed that, and I enjoyed the challenge. I wish I could have made the putt on 17 to have a bit of a chance on the last, but all in all, I'm pretty happy with how my game is shaping up."
Charles Howell III also had a chance, with three straight birdies around the turn and back-to-back birdies late in his round, a chip-in on the 16th and an 18-foot birdie on the 17th. But he missed the 18th green well to the left, chipped to 15 feet and three-putted for bogey to finish alone in fourth.