For the full breakdown of this weekend in Professional Golf, check out the January 17th episode of Stick & Hack Reacts.

The Sony Open ended in a playoff this past weekend, setting a captivating tone for the 2022 season. After losing his last three 54-hole leads, Russel Henley looked to end the streak and convert stellar weekend play into victory. A shaky Sunday back nine and a missed 10-footer from Henley coupled with a pair of weekend 63’s from 2021 Masters champ Hideki Matsuyama meant 2022’s first playoff. Matsuyama’s perfect three-wood on the first playoff hole set up a gimme eagle and secured his 8th career victory, tying KJ Choi for most career wins from an Asian player. Already a two-time winner on Tour this season, chances are looking good for the 29-year old to soon break that record.  His victory was met with an exuberant hug from his caddie, Shota Hayafuji, who bounced up and down in celebration, pin still in hand.

In 1983, Isao Aoki became the first Japanese player to win a tournament on the PGA Tour when he won the Hawaiian Open (same tournament before the sponsorship rebrand). This moment on the same Waialae Golf Course in Honolulu was no doubt on Matsuyama’s mind as he made his final putt on the 18th hole. Moments after, he mentioned Aoki in an interview with Golf Channel while thanking the crowd that cheered him on. 

Henley, who went into the weekend ranked 46th in the FedEx tour, held the lead for most of the weekend, at times by more than 4 strokes.  Although his last Tour victory was in 2017, he won The Honda Classic in 2014 and this same tournament back in 2013 by 3 strokes. He took the runner-up position with grace, shaking hands with Matsuyama on the 18th green.

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