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Monday, January 25, 2021

English ends victory drought with impressive win in Hawaii

Harris English captured his third PGA Tour win and first since the Mayakoba Golf Classic in  2014 with a playoff victory over Joaquin Niemann at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

Teeing up in the event having qualified via his progression to last season’s Tour Championship, English birdied the first extra hole, the par-5 18th, to claim the title after he and Niemann couldn’t be separated at 25-under par after 72 holes on the Plantation Course at Kapalua.

“It feels amazing,” said English. “All the hard work that has gone into this, all the highs and lows of golf that it brings over a career and I feel like I’ve gotten out of my valley and getting back to the tournaments and some of the quality of golf that I know I can play. It feels great to have some validation out there on the golf course.”

Indeed, there’s no shortage of validation for the likeable American who went through an unexpected rough patch that saw him finish 149th in the 2019 FedExCup race and lose his full card before his renaissance of last season. As English explains, it seemed like he lost his own identity as a golfer for a time:

“Every week you play with somebody that you might think does this better, does that better, but you are who you are, and you can get better at what you do,” English said. “That’s what I’ve learned – to not go up-and-down the range saying, I need to be like Dustin or Justin Thomas or Xander Schauffele. I need to be the best version of myself and do the things I do well and always work at it. I feel like I’ve gotten a lot better at doing that and my coach back home has really kept me on track.”

Four rounds in the 60’s, including a four-under par 69 on the final day for a 25-under tally and it certainly does seem that English is bang on track having started 2021 in the perfect manner. In a Ryder Cup and Olympic year, English is hopeful that this trip to the winner’s enclosure is just the beginning, believing there’s much more to come from his game.

“I’m still not satisfied with where I’m at in the game, there’s still a lot more that I want to accomplish,” he added. “Hopefully this is just the tip of the iceberg of me getting better and better and hopefully having a chance to win a lot more tournaments.”

Justin Thomas fired a final round seven-under par 66 to grab the final place on the podium at 24-under. Jon Rahm closed with a 67 to share seventh place at minus-20, finishing best of the Europeans on the same total as Bryson DeChambeau whose relentless push for distance didn’t compromise his scoring prowess, the US Open champ signing off on a positive week with a 66 of his own.

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