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The Tour Report
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January 16 2012

4:00 AM

Notes from inside the ropes

By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent

HONOLULU -- Charles Howell III did not complain and did not tell anyone, but his putter arrived in Hawaii with a bent shaft.  Odyssey officials could replace the "White Ice" model but nothing is more of a feel club than a putter, particularly one that has been used for several years. 

Still, Howell III finished tied for second behind Johnson Wagner at the Sony Open in Hawaii and would only say, "I did not putt well this week," never using the new putter as an excuse. …

The wind blew from a different direction for Sunday’s final round and the course played differently. 

With a wind from the south/southeast, the first hole played downwind and the ninth hole was more crosswind.  It showed in the numbers players posted. 

On Saturday, there were four birdies on the first hole; on Sunday there were 10. 

No hole changed more dramatically than the 9th.  On Friday the par 5 gave up a whopping 26 eagles.  With a different wind on Sunday, Keegan Bradley made the one lone eagle on the 506-yard hole. …

Michael Thompson said, "I putted well today, it was fun."  That is the understatement of the tournament.  He had 26 putts while finishing T6.

But the real story of his round was the obscene length of putts he made.  Thompson made 142 feet, 1-inch worth of putts in the final round. 

Only the length of the final putt holed on every green counts, and a number in the 90s is a very good day.  Thompson grinned and said, "I made a couple 35-footers." …

Players struggled out of the bunkers this week.  The white sand looked beautiful but it was very fluffy.  It's easy to spin a golf ball out of compacted sand but when the sand is loose, it is hard to get the ball to grip the putting surface. 

Sean O'Hair was 3 for 3 out of bunkers on Sunday.  "The sand was fluffy and you had to get a little lucky to get it close,” he said. …

There are dozens of shots every week on which a tournament can turn but it you want to point to one critical putt,  it took place on the 15th hole on Sunday. 

Johnson Wagner had just missed the green but used putter from the fringe and made a 17-foot birdie, with the ball just tumbling into the cup with the last bit of momentum. 

Forty-five minutes later, Johnson was champion of the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio and was inside the ropes this week at the Sony Open in Hawaii. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.

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