It was a little more golf than most players wanted on Sunday as the SONY Open in Hawaii wrapped up with a 36-hole, one-day, sprint to the finish, but it did not seemed to hurt Mark Wilson at all.
The Wisconsin native shot third 65 in his third round Sunday morning to take a lead that he would not relinquish. A final round of 67 put him at a total of 16 under par, two clear of Steve Marino and Tim Clark. Clark was the best of the field on Sunday with rounds of 66 and 64.
The win is the third for Wilson, who first took home a PGA Tour trophy in 2007 at the Honda Classic and followed it up in 2009 with a win at the Mayakoba Golf Classic at Riviera Maya-Cancun.
Coming off a less than stellar season in 2010 the win Sunday was critical for Wilson who was facing non-exempt status. “Last year wasn’t one of my best years,” he said after accepting the trophy in Hawaii. “I wasn’t going to be exempt next year I didn’t play well this year. I decided not to waste any energy worrying about it and just do the best I can and see what happens.”
With his win Wilson will now be exempt for two more years on Tour and has earned a spot in The Masters for the very first time.
It was a gruelling battle for the entire field Sunday after rain earlier in the week forced the packed final day. That worked out well for Wilson. “It was nice to go to the tee and not think about it at all,” he said of having the lead after three rounds but just minutes to prepare for the final stanza. “I really didn’t know what was going on and didn’t look at too many leaderboards.”
As for having to make two trips around the Waialaie layout in one day Wilson made light of the difficulty. “I guess I have to thank my trainer back home.”
Despite falling short on Sunday Tim Clark was very upbeat about his results. Painful blisters on his feet may keep him from playing in the Bob Hope Classic this week but he is excited about the year ahead. “The biggest transition for me this year has been the equipment. I am with Titleist now but I seemed to have worked into it very quickly,” he said Sunday after his round. “I felt very comfortable out there today and the control of the golf ball has been great the last two weeks in the wind.”
Defending champion Ryan Palmer struggled during the week and finished in 52nd place.
For his victory Mark Wilson earned (USD) $990,000 and moves into 2nd place on the PGA Tour money list behind Jonathan Byrd. Wilson will be in the field this week for the Bob Hope Classic while Byrd has chosen not to play.