In one swoop, Paul Azinger answered the question of whether he can win again after a bout with cancer, helped ease the pain of the death of friend Payne Stewart and erased 14 years of frustration in Hawaii.
Azinger won the Sony Open yesterday in Honolulu with an exclamation point, pulling away from the field with a bogey-free 5-under 65 for a seven-stroke victory over Australian Stuart Appleby.
In becoming a wire-to-wire winner in the PGA Tour's first full-field event of the year, Azinger opened with rounds of 63, 65 and 68 en route to a 19-under 261 total on the Waialae course.
Azinger, who turned 40 on Jan. 6, won for the first time since the 1993 PGA Championship. He had lymphoma diagnosed in his right shoulder in December 1993 and missed most of the next season.
The 12-time tour winner also ended a frustrating run in Hawaii. When the tournament was known as the Hawaiian Open, he was a three-time runner-up and had five other top-10 finishes.
Appleby, who closed within three strokes of Azinger after nine holes, eagled the 72nd hole for a 67.
John Huston (67) and Sweden's Jesper Parnevik (69) tied for third at 10-under 270. South Africa's Ernie Els was alone at 271, and Tom Lehman, Sean Murphy and Scott Dunlap followed at 272.
Els, 6 under at the start of the round, birdied the first two holes to move up, but had a quadruple-bogey on the 423-yard third hole. He recovered to shoot a 67, but it was too late.
LPGA: Defending champion Karrie Webb fired a 1-under 71 to win the Office Depot, the LPGA's season-opening tournament, in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Holding off challenges by Juli Inkster and Lorie Kane, Webb finished at 7-under 281 over the 6,323-yard Legend course at Ibis Country Club. The victory was the 17th of Webb's career and the third time she had made a successful defense.
"I think most of the tournaments I've won, I really like the golf course," Webb said. "When I go back, I get a good feeling about the area and the course. Some people say it's harder to defend a tournament, but I think it's the biggest advantage you can have. You've got better memories than anyone else in the field."
She won with 278 last year and has led or shared the top spot in the Office Depot for eight consecutive rounds. It was the ninth time in 15 tournaments that Webb won when leading to start the final round.
EUROPEAN PGA: England's Anthony Wall birdied five holes on the back nine to win the Alfred Dunhill Championship by two shots over Scotland's Gary Orr in Johannesburg.
The tournament was shortened to 54 holes after torrential rain interrupted the schedule during the first three days. Wall finished at 10-under 204, with rounds of 69, 67 and 68. Second-round leader Trevor Dodds of Namibia shot a 2-over 74 and finished tied for fifth at 208.