Have a day, Fabian Gomez.
The Argentina native was four back of leaders Brandt Snedeker and Zac Blair coming into Sunday's final round of the 2016 Sony Open at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu but posted a head-turning eight-under 62 to force a playoff, where he eventually captured the tournament crown.
As if that wasn't impressive enough, he birdied seven holes in a row during the middle of the round and then overcame a one-stroke deficit on the final two holes with two birdies. He capped off his regulation round with a clutch putt from just off the green on No. 18 to put himself into the playoff, and he notched a birdie on the second additional hole to beat out Snedeker for the championship.
The entire leaderboard can be found at the PGA Tour's official website. Here is a look at the top finishers as well as their financial payouts:
|2016 Sony Open Top Finishers|
|1||Fabian Gomez (won playoff)||-20||$1.044 million|
|4||Si Woo Kim||-16||$278,400|
Gomez put himself into contention with an incredible stretch during holes Nos. 6-12. In fact, he birdied every one of them to give himself the temporary solo lead and drew this reaction from Jason Sobel of ESPN.com:
Jason Sobel @JasonSobelESPN
That's seven straight birds for Fabian Gomez. Even more amazing? He's still two away from Mark Calcavecchia's all-time record.1/18/2016, 1:16:17 AM
The PGA Tour wrapped up those seven holes as well:
PGA TOUR @PGATOUR
Fabian Gomez's last seven holes: 6: 🐦 7: 🐦 8: 🐦 9: 🐦 10: 🐦 11: 🐦 12: 🐦 #QuickHits https://t.co/N4yOhIcLBQ1/18/2016, 1:16:11 AM
The problem for Gomez was the fact he followed that red-hot streak with disastrous bogeys on Nos. 13 and 14. It allowed Blair and Snedeker to pull even at 18 under par heading into the stretch run and cost the eventual champion a chance to create separation before the final two holes.
He needed to overcome the mishaps, and that is exactly what he did with two straight birdies on the last two holes, one of which came off this tournament-saving putt, per the PGA Tour:
PGA TOUR @PGATOUR
Fabian Gomez with a HUGE putt at the 72nd hole to put the pressure on. #QuickHits https://t.co/uAHmUfrtpp1/18/2016, 2:50:35 AM
From there, Gomez birdied the second playoff hole and won the trophy on a day he tied for the lowest final-round score ever at the Sony Open.
As for Snedeker, he is a seven-time PGA Tour winner and had the experience advantage when it came to closing out tournaments. That veteran guile was on full display at times during the back nine with birdies on Nos. 10, 14, 16 and 18.
However, he was faced with a putt to continue the playoff on the second additional hole and left it just right. Here is a look at the highlight, per the PGA Tour:
PGA TOUR @PGATOUR
Brandt Snedeker had this to force a third playoff hole... #QuickHits https://t.co/9g742oyKjZ1/18/2016, 3:37:05 AM
Snedeker and Blair were tied atop the leaderboard coming into Sunday's action, but it was Blair who pulled away early between the two. Blair notched birdies on Nos. 5, 7 and 8, while Snedeker failed to capitalize on a few initial opportunities and finished even on the front nine with one birdie and one bogey.
However, Blair cooled off with a bogey on No. 14 and a string of three pars coming into the 18th hole. He needed an eagle to put his name in the playoff on that par-five 18th, and he almost pulled it off after a stunning approach shot (and amusing conversation with himself), as PGA Tour shared:
PGA TOUR @PGATOUR
"Oh my gosh, that is so good. Get a good kick." Zac Blair needs eagle at the last to force a playoff. He did this. https://t.co/5jP8voisKC1/18/2016, 2:54:28 AM
Blair took care of the hard part with the second shot, but he missed the putt in heartbreaking fashion, which PGA Tour captured:
PGA TOUR @PGATOUR
Zac Blair to tie the clubhouse lead... #QuickHits https://t.co/tWk8L4aR761/18/2016, 2:59:17 AM
Blair finished at 19 under par after a 67 on Sunday, which was his worst round of the tournament. Still, the third-place finish was the best of the 25-year-old's PGA career.
Outside of those three who battled for the title, 20-year-old Si Woo Kim was looking for his first career victory on the PGA Tour and nearly pulled it off Sunday. He was within a couple of strokes for the majority of the back nine but ultimately finished with a 68 and four strokes off the leaders after a bogey and seven pars on the final eight holes.
Kevin Kisner was also within striking range for much of the round, but he, like everyone else, failed to match the finish from the threesome of Gomez, Snedeker and Blair. Kisner posted an even-par 70 thanks to two double bogeys and finished at 15 under.
Elsewhere, Jimmy Walker was the two-time defending champion at this event but officially relinquished his crown Sunday. He finished with a four-under 66, which was his second-best round of the tournament, but any realistic chances at a comeback ended early. He bogeyed three of the first four holes and needed five birdies on the back nine to bring his total score back to 12 under par.
Walker finished just behind notable name Zach Johnson, who ended his tournament in the top 10 at 13 under par. Johnson looked to be a true contender with a 64 Thursday and a 66 Friday, but he followed that up with a 70 on Saturday. Even Sunday's 67 was not enough to put him back inside the top five.
Another household name who had a chance for a Sunday run after a blistering 62 Saturday was Matt Kuchar. However, Kuchar never established much consistency, with four birdies and three bogeys on his way to a one-under 69, which was a far cry from the six birdies he posted on his last six holes Saturday.
One golfer who could be well on his way to more consistency is Gomez, especially after his confidence likely received a major boost Sunday following a dramatic playoff win.
Not only did Gomez capture his second career PGA Tour victory, according to his profile on tour's official website, but he did it by outlasting one of the better golfers in the field during an additional two holes. Considering his other victory came in 2015, the 37-year-old looks primed to become a regular contender in various fields this year.
He certainly was under the Hawaiian sun during the final round of the Sony Open.
It was an incredible finish, and the playoff would have featured three golfers if Blair’s final putt had gone in. He commented on it, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com): “One of the best putts I've probably ever hit right there on 18. Unfortunately, it didn't go in.”
Like Blair, Snedeker came up just short and reflected on his round, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com): “It's frustrating because I couldn't make putts to win the golf tournament.”
Snedeker also congratulated the victor on Twitter in the aftermath:
Brandt Snedeker @BrandtSnedeker
Tried like hell but couldn't make the putts I needed to. Congrats to Fabien on a great win! New Bridgestone driver and ball are awesome!!!!!1/18/2016, 4:34:10 AM
Gomez discussed his win, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com): “I felt good all week long and was about to put on a great round today. And I had Brandt Snedeker in front of me. I got on a streak with seven putts in a row. And it makes me feel good and feel like I could win the tournament.”
There will be more wins to come if he finishes tournament like he did Sunday.
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