PGA Tour
Palmer birdies last to win Sony Open



Honolulu, HI (Sports Network) - It all came down to the 72nd hole Sunday. Ryan Palmer nearly holed an eagle chip, but settled for a tap-in birdie that gave him the title at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Palmer closed with a four-under 66 at Waialae Country Club to fend off his third-round co-leader Robert Allenby. Palmer ended at 15-under-par 265 for his third PGA Tour title.

"I came out here with a lot of hopes for the year and wanted to get off to a good start and my body felt great all week," said Palmer, who picked up $990,000 for the win. "It was an unbelievable week. I stuck to my guns and that's all I wanted to do."

Allenby was again denied his fifth PGA Tour crown. He last won on the PGA Tour in 2001 at the Pennsylvania Classic. The Australian had an 11-foot birdie effort on the 18th to force a playoff, but missed. He shot three-under 67 to finish one back at minus-14.

Steve Stricker twice tied the lead during the final round, but he ended two strokes back at 13-under-par 267 after closing with a five-under 65.

Retief Goosen, once a member of the so-called Big Four on the PGA Tour, birdied eight of his last 13 holes to shoot eight-under 62. He finished alone in fourth at minus-12, but was tied for the lead when he walked off the final green.

From there, the battle was on between Palmer and Allenby, who were paired in the final group, and Stricker, who was two groups ahead of them.

Allenby birdied the first to move ahead, but Palmer joined him at 12-under with a birdie on the third. Both players bogeyed the fourth to slide into a share of the lead with Stricker and Goosen.

Palmer came right back with a three-foot birdie putt on the fifth to regain the lead. Goosen finished his closing charge with three straight birdies to join Palmer at 12-under.

The 33-year-old Palmer moved one in front of Goosen and two ahead of Palmer with a 10-foot birdie effort on the eighth. Allenby responded with a birdie on nine, but Palmer pushed his lead back to two with a birdie on 10.

Palmer dropped a shot on 11 to fall into a tie for the lead with Stricker, who had just rolled in a 17-foot birdie putt on 13 to get to 13-under. Stricker had six birdies and a bogey to that point in his round.

Allenby and Palmer birdied the par-four 12th, but Palmer tripped to a bogey on 13 to again fall into a tie for the lead. Stricker dropped back with a bogey on 15, but birdied the 17th to get in at minus-13.

"It is a little disappointing, I mean I hit the ball great today," Stricker admitted. "I gave myself a lot of opportunities and all of a sudden I found myself doubting some reads I saw on the greens and got a little confused out there at times and not making a very confident stroke."

Palmer showed his mettle and responded with a nine-foot birdie putt on 14. Allenby then stuffed his approach within three feet at 15. He kicked that in for birdie to join Palmer in the lead at 14-under.

Both players parred 16 and 17, so it came down to the par-five closing hole. After both players found the right rough off the tee, Palmer's second came up short of the green. Allenby then saw his second run through the green.

Allenby pitched his third to nine feet. Palmer nearly ended it right there. His chip shot rattled off the stick, nearly dropping in for eagle. It stopped inches from the hole. He marked and watched Allenby miss his birdie putt left of the hole.

Palmer tapped in for birdie and his third PGA Tour title. It was also his second win in two tries when owning at least a piece of the 54-hole lead.

"Another lucky bounce I guess," Palmer joked of his chip. "It was going to go by seven or eight feet I think. I hit a great second shot from the rough, then the chip caught the pin perfect. You need things like that to win."

Charles Howell III fired a six-under 64 to end in a share of fifth at 11-under 269. He finished alongside Davis Love III (67) and Carl Pettersson (66).

NOTES: Zach Johnson, the 2009 winner, closed with back-to-back 70s to share 12th place eight-under-par 272...Fifteen of the 20 players that also competed at last week's winner's only SBS Championship made the cut this week, and played all four rounds...Eleven of the 15 finished inside the top 25...Sean O'Hair, who also played last week, made the cut, but didn't play the final round...Next week is the PGA Tour's lone five-round event, the Bob Hope Classic, where Pat Perez won last year.

01/17 23:16:37 ET