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Harris English beats Joaquin Niemann in playoff, wins Sentry Tournament of Champions

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He needed an extra hole, but Harris English took the Sentry Tournament of Champions at the Plantation Course at Kapalua, edging Joaquin Niemann in a playoff on Sunday.

English came into the final round atop the leaderboard, but made the turn at an even 36 and fell out of the lead. He didn’t go away, however, using a stretch of birdies on the back to press Niemann, who had passed him.

English, who hadn’t won on Tour since 2013 at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba, lipped out a birdie putt on No. 16 that would have pushed him back into a tie for the lead with Niemann. He made par on 17, meaning he needed a birdie on the final hole to force a playoff or an eagle to win outright.

After a booming drive, English used the Hawaiian breeze to his advantage, shaping a shot to inside 10 feet, but then missed the putt, forcing a playoff.

He didn’t make the same mistake twice, however, draining a birdie in the playoff to capture the crown after Niemann missed the green and made par.

Niemann posted six birdies on the front nine and three more on the back in finishing the day with a 63 to post a four-day total of 25 under.

Niemann seemed unfazed by challenges, as he has in most events to start the new season. The Chilean product had five top-25 finishes in six full-field events to start the 2020-21 season, and continued with the hot hand in Maui. His only victory on Tour came at the now-defunct A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier back in 2019.

Sentry TOCLeaderboard | Photos

Justin Thomas also shook off controversy to hang tough on Sunday. Thomas made news by uttering a homophobic slur during the third round that was picked up by hot microphones on the Golf Channel’s broadcast.

But Thomas was focused on Sunday, playing solid golf to maneuver his way near the top. He missed a short birdie putt on No. 16, however, and finished two strokes back, barely failing to win for the third time in this event. He captured the crown in 2017 and 2020.

Xander Schauffele finished at 21 under while Bryson DeChambeau used a six-foot eagle putt on the final hole to fire his best round of the week, a 66, and finish at 20 under. He said after the round that he was happy with his performance, but it didn’t accomplish what he set out to do.

“I wouldn’t say fully satisfied. I was coming here to win,” DeChambeau said. “… But I learned a lot about my game, my speed and what I have to do to keep it in the fairway and to make sure I give myself some opportunities.”

original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/01/10/pga-tour-sentry-tournament-of-champions-harris-english-ends-drought/

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