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KAPALUA, Maui >> Chris Kirk wants to savor this moment for a couple of days.

Then he’ll start thinking about what it might take to achieve something only Ernie Els and Justin Thomas have done.

The veteran completed a sustained, masterful display Sunday, four rounds of poker-face intensity and consistency at the Plantation Course at Kapalua. Kirk, 38, was best among the 59 of the PGA’s top achievers of 2023 at keeping his foot on the gas but his car on the track throughout this mostly wind-free first week of the PGA Tour season.

His 8 under par final round secured victory at The Sentry at the Plantation Course at Kapalua, and the $3.6 million prize that goes with it. Kirk was strong and steady throughout the tournament, shooting from 6 to 8 under in all four rounds with 67-65-66-65 for a total of 29 under.

He didn’t lead wire-to-wire and he didn’t run away with it, but Kirk never went off the rails. He opened his season with 30 birdies and just one bogey.

No eagles, but Kirk was a nearly flawless machine, and at his best when he needed it most. He set himself up on No. 17 with a 5-iron approach shot that left him a four-footer for his eighth and final birdie of the round. It proved to be the decisive shot for the now six-time winner on the PGA Tour.

Whether he can complete a same-year Aloha Sweep like Els in 2003 or Thomas in 2017 is something Kirk will ponder starting around Wednesday. But his history at the Sony Open in Hawaii at Waialae Country Club indicates that it is far from impossible.

“My mind needs a little break at the moment, I would say. I’ll take tomorrow off and maybe even Tuesday off as well, just to try to kind of decompress a little bit,” Kirk said. “But Waialae’s a golf course that I’ve played so many times and I’m so comfortable on and just really enjoy playing the golf course.”

Kirk was third at Waialae last year behind winner Si Woo Kim and Hayden Buckley, after Kirk held at least a share of the lead at the end of the first two rounds. It was one of four top fives in his 13 Sony Open appearances.

“Thankfully, it’s a little easier walk than Kapalua around there,” Kirk said.

He added that he won’t be starting at 21 under and atop the leaderboard at Waialae, like he did here Sunday.

“That’s another incredible thing about our sport,” he said. “When I tee off on Thursday, what I did this week doesn’t matter anymore, it’s all square, and the gun goes off and we try to do it all over again.”

Kirk got going early Sunday, humming along at 4 under for the day after seven holes and widening his lead to three shots. His playing partners, Akshay Bhatia and Xavier Shauffele, started the round one and two shots behind Kirk, but neither got going enough to pose a threat.

But there were plenty of other challengers.

Jason Day made an early run, and was also 4 under for the round until a double-bogey 5 at No. 8 knocked him out of the hunt. Adam Hadwin took his shot, too, 8 under after 15 holes positioned him at -21 and striking range. But he ran out of holes.

First-round leader Sahith Theegala started Sunday three off the pace, and among many with a realistic chance to catch Kirk given the light winds. He and Jordan Spieth gave chase, and both were tied with Kirk for the lead at 27 under with a few holes left. Theegala even held the lead for brief moments.

But a bogey on No. 16 took Spieth out of contention. And when Theegala’s birdie try at 18 went around the rim, but spun out of the cup, his fate — second place — was all but decided.

“You knew that guys were going to go low, you knew there was going to be a ton of looks today, it was just so calm,” said Theegala, who was among three players to shoot 10 under on the day. “So, it was a little bit of just staying patient on the putts. … Chris hit an incredible shot on 17 there, and then if we were tied or if I was at 29, I think he would probably pulls off a birdie there (at 18) as well.”

The lack of strong wind confirmed for Kirk before he even started that the final round would be no simple victory lap.

“When I saw how calm it was, getting out to the golf course, getting out and starting my warm-up and everything, you just know there’s that kind of group of players not that far behind you, and … all right, somebody’s probably going to shoot 10 under, somebody always does out here pretty much, on a calm day anyways,” he said. “I’m just thankful that Sahith shot 10 and not 11 under today.

“It’s never easy playing Sunday with a lead, but it’s kind of easier a little bit mentally when you know, like, all right, yeah, I’m in the lead, but I probably won’t be by the time I tee off, and then if I make three pars in a row I’m definitely not going to be anymore. So you got to keep the pedal to the metal.”

THE SENTRY SCORES

Sunday’s final round

At The Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort; Kapalua, Maui

Purse: $20 million. Yardage: 7,596; Par: 73

Chris Kirk (700), $3,600,000………………………………67-65-66-65—263

Sahith Theegala (400), $2,160,000………………….64-69-68-63—264

Jordan Spieth (350), $1,360,000………………………66-67-67-65—265

Byeong Hun An (325), $975,000……………………..68-64-68-66—266

Brian Harman (250), $690,500………………………….67-66-70-64—267

Sungjae Im (250), $690,500………………………………65-66-73-63—267

Collin Morikawa (250), $690,500……………………… 65-67-70-65—267

J.T. Poston (250), $690,500………………………………68-68-66-65—267

Scottie Scheffler (250), $690,500…………………… 66-64-71-66—267

Jason Day (170), $530,000………………………………..65-69-67-67—268

Xander Schauffele (170), $530,000………………….66-69-65-68—268

Patrick Cantlay (150), $450,000……………………….66-68-68-67—269

Sepp Straka (150), $450,000……………………………67-66-70-66—269

Akshay Bhatia (113), $320,250……………………….. 69-64-66-71—270

Eric Cole (113), $320,250………………………………… 70-66-69-65—270

Harris English (113), $320,250…………………………71-66-64-69—270

Matt Fitzpatrick (113), $320,250……………………….69-64-69-68—270

Adam Hadwin (113), $320,250…………………………70-66-70-64—270

Tyrrell Hatton (113), $320,250……………………………69-62-72-67—270

Max Homa (113), $320,250……………………………….67-69-68-66—270

Patrick Rodgers (113), $320,250………………………69-65-70-66—270

Viktor Hovland (85), $220,000…………………………….65-67-72-67—271

Luke List (85), $220,000…………………………………….67-70-68-66—271

Erik Van Rooyen (85), $220,000………………………. 72-65-69-65—271

Nicolas Echavarria (68), $170,750…………………….. 70-67-68-67—272

Mackenzie Hughes (68), $170,750……………………68-70-70-64—272

Si Woo Kim (68), $170,750………………………………..70-66-70-66—272

Taylor Moore (68), $170,750………………………………71-65-70-66—272

Wyndham Clark (48), $140,500………………………..71-68-71-63—273

Lucas Glover (48), $140,500……………………………..72-66-68-67—273

Kurt Kitayama (48), $140,500…………………………….72-64-71-66—273

Adam Schenk (48), $140,500……………………………69-65-70-69—273

Sam Burns (27), $113,000………………………………..69-68-68-69—274

Corey Conners (27), $113,000…………………………. 69-70-68-67—274

Adam Svensson (27), $113,000………………………..70-68-68-68—274

Brendon Todd (27), $113,000…………………………….67-64-73-70—274

Cameron Young (27), $113,000…………………………68-67-74-65—274

Tony Finau (22), $96,000……………………………………69-66-71-69—275

Tom Hoge (22), $96,000…………………………………….67-69-71-68—275

Andrew Putnam (20), $86,000………………………….. 74-71-67-64—276

Justin Rose (20), $86,000…………………………………..71-69-75-61—276

Matt Wallace (20), $86,000………………………………..68-70-69-69—276

Emiliano Grillo (18), $76,000………………………………66-68-72-71—277

Denny McCarthy (18), $76,000………………………….70-69-71-67—277

Keegan Bradley (16), $68,000…………………………….69-70-72-67—278

Tom Kim (16), $68,000……………………………………….. 68-70-74-66—278

Ludvig Aberg (14), $62,000………………………………..69-70-77-63—279

Tommy Fleetwood (14), $62,000………………………..70-70-69-70—279

Nick Hardy (14), $62,000……………………………………71-67-75-66—279

Seamus Power (13), $57,500……………………………..71-71-71-67—280

Camilo Villegas (13), $57,500………………………………65-71-74-70—280

Cameron Davis (11), $54,500……………………………75-68-73-65—281

Russell Henley (11), $54,500…………………………….69-72-72-68—281

Davis Riley (11), $54,500……………………………………70-71-76-64—281

Nick Taylor (11), $54,500……………………………………69-69-73-70—281

Rickie Fowler (10), $52,000………………………………..70-67-75-70—282

Lee Hodges (10), $51,000…………………………………72-65-77-69—283

Hideki Matsuyama (9), $50,500……………………….. 71-68-76-69—284

Vincent Norrman (9), $50,000……………………………. 73-70-74-69—286

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