Cameron Smith wins Sony Open in another Hawaii comeback

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Cameron Smith hits from the 14th tee during the final round of the Sony Open PGA Tour golf event, Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Matt York)

HONOLULU, HI – Two weeks in Hawaii brought rain, unusually strong wind, playoffs and two players who thought victory was out of reach until the winner's lei was draped around their necks.

Cameron Smith was the latest Sunday at the Sony Open.

He might have been even more surprised than Justin Thomas, who got a second chance when he won a playoff at Kapalua.

“Two or three holes left, I really didn't think there was much of a shot,” Smith said after his playoff victory over Brendan Steele on rain-soaked Waialae Country Club. “I knew I had to play some good golf. It just kind of all fell into place.”

Smith was 4-over par just two holes into the tournament Thursday, and his focus turned to making birdies that would give him a chance to salvage his round and raise money for the wildfires in his native Australia. Smith and Marc Leishman had pledged $500 for every birdie to help raise money.

He twice pulled within shot of the lead at various points Sunday, but it looked like a lost cause when Steele had a two-shot lead with two holes to play.

“I thought I had to birdie 17 and then do something really good on 18,” Smith said. “You never know what can happen."

Just about everything did in the final hour, which is about how long it took to play the last two holes. It rained every day since Tuesday, and the rain was so steady on Sunday the PGA Tour moved the hole location from its traditional spot to higher ground, and the green still had to be rolled with sponges between groups.