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The Sentry 2024: A Recap of the Thrilling Start to the PGA Tour Season

The PGA Tour season got off to a thrilling start at the Sentry 2024, the first Signature Event of the year, where Chris Kirk emerged as the surprise winner after a dramatic final round. Kirk, who took a seven-month leave from the Tour in 2019 to deal with alcoholism and mental health issues, completed a remarkable comeback by holding off the world’s best players at the Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort in Maui, Hawaii.

Kirk shot a final-round 66 to finish at 25-under 267, one stroke ahead of Jon Rahm, the world number one and the defending champion, and two strokes ahead of Dustin Johnson, the 2020 and 2021 champion. Kirk earned his sixth PGA Tour title, his first since 2015, and moved up to No. 23 in the Official World Golf Ranking and No. 2 in the Fed ExCup standings.

Kirk started the final round two shots behind Rahm, who had a three-shot lead over the field after a course-record 61 in the third round. Rahm looked poised to repeat his victory from last year, but he faltered on the back nine, making three bogeys and missing several birdie chances. Kirk, on the other hand, played steady and solid golf, making five birdies and no bogeys, and taking the lead for good with a birdie on the 16th hole. Kirk sealed the deal with a clutch par save on the 18th hole, where he hit his approach shot into the rough and had to chip out to the fairway. He then hit a wedge to six feet and made the putt to secure the win.

Kirk was emotional after his victory, as he reflected on his journey from the depths of despair to the heights of glory. He credited his family, his friends, and his faith for helping him overcome his struggles and regain his passion for the game. He also thanked the PGA Tour for giving him a medical extension that allowed him to keep his playing status and compete in the Sentry 2024. Kirk said he was grateful for the opportunity and the challenge, and that he was proud of himself for staying calm and confident under pressure.

The Sentry 2024 was not only a personal triumph for Kirk, but also a showcase of the PGA Tour’s new Signature Event format, which features a smaller and stronger field, a larger purse, and more Fed ExCup points. The tournament attracted 34 of the top 35 players in the world, who had qualified by winning a PGA Tour event in 2023 or finishing in the top 50 of the Fed ExCup. The tournament also offered a total purse of $20 million, with $3.6 million going to the winner, and 700 Fed ExCup points, which could make a big difference in the race for the season-long trophy. The tournament also served as a warm-up for the Sony Open in Hawaii, the second PGA Tour event of the year, which will take place from January 9 to January 12 at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The Sentry 2024 was a thrilling and exciting tournament that kicked off the PGA Tour season in style. It featured some of the best golfers in the world, some of the most stunning views in Hawaii, and some of the most dramatic moments in golf. It also featured a remarkable and inspiring story of redemption and resilience, as Chris Kirk proved that he still has what it takes to win at the highest level. Congratulations to Chris Kirk, the champion of the Sentry 2024, and the first Signature Event winner of the year.

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