Sony Open 2020: Cameron Smith Defeats Brendan Steele in Playoff to Earn Win

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 13, 2020

HONOLULU, HAWAII - JANUARY 12: Cameron Smith of Australia plays his shot from the 15th tee during the final round of the Sony Open in Hawaii at the Waialae Country Club on January 12, 2020 in Honolulu, Hawaii. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Brendan Steele entered the final round of the 2020 Sony Open at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu with a three-stroke lead.

That wasn't enough to hold over Cameron Smith.

Steele shot a one-over 71 in Sunday's final round, which opened the door to the rest of the field. Smith went right through that door with a two-under 68, forcing a playoff hole with a clutch birdie putt on the 18th hole.

Smith took full advantage of the extra hole, notching a par to Steele's bogey to clinch the win.

Here is a look at Smith, Steele and the rest of the top of the leaderboard, per PGATour.com:

T1. Cameron Smith, -11 (won in playoff)

2. Brendan Steele, -11

3. Webb Simpson, -10

T4. Graeme McDowell, -9

T4. Ryan Palmer, -9

T4. Kevin Kisner, -9

T7. Lanto Griffin, -8

T7. Ted Potter Jr., -8

That Smith had to scramble on the playoff hole to salvage the par and earn the win after a lackluster drive was fitting considering he was scrambling throughout the tournament. He was sitting at four over after the first two holes in the opening round thanks to an ugly triple bogey and had to work his way up the leaderboard just to make the cut.

He was solid with two birdies and a bogey on the front nine in Sunday's round and had two birdies and one bogey on the back nine as well.

No birdie was as important as the one on the final hole, although Steele still had a birdie putt of his own to win the tournament. He pushed it wide, further losing his grip on what appeared to be his victory before a bogey on No. 17.

It wasn't a complete loss for Steele.

As Ben Everill of PGATour.com noted, he didn't finish in the top 10 in any of his previous 38 starts. His head-turning six-under 64 in the third round helped change that, although he will surely rue his missed chances down the stretch.

"Everything that could go wrong went wrong today," Steele said, per Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press (h/t San Diego Tribune).

As for Smith, this is just his second career PGA Tour victory. He won the 2017 Zurich Classic of New Orleans, but this one surely stands out considering the bush fires that have impacted his home country of Australia.

According to Adam Woodard of Golfweek (h/t USA Today), Smith pledged to donate $500 for each birdie and $1,000 for each eagle he notched during the Sony Open.

That means his birdie on No. 18 had a bigger impact than just creating the playoff hole he went on to win.

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