In rewriting one of the oldest records on the PGA Tour and giving the final Hawaiian Open an appropriate farewell, John Huston wasn't thinking about the mark.
Huston put his stamp on the Tour on Sunday with a birdie on the 72nd hole to close out the 33-year-old tournament with a 28-under-par 260.
That broke the Tour's 27-under mark set shared by Ben Hogan and Mike Souchak and easily breezed past the 23-under record for the tournament.
The Tour record for total score for a 72-hole event, 257, wasn't quite within Huston's reach.
"It's been a fantastic week," Huston said. "I kept in control and gave myself a chance for birdies."
"It's a good feeling. It's been a long time (last victory came in 1994) so it's a great feeling to win. And to finish the way I did capped off a great week."
In placing an exclamation point on the last Hawaiian Open, which will be replaced on the Tour calendar by the Sony Classic in Hawaii in 1999, Huston rolled in a three-foot putt on the 72nd hole to claim the mark.
With a huge smile on his face, Huston raised his arms after the putt dropped.
Tom Watson shot a 66 to finish second at 21-under 267 with Trevor Dodds (66) was third at 268.
Tied for fourth at 269 were Mike Reid, Brett Quigley and Greg Kraft with R.W. Eaks, who had the day's best round at 65. Steve Stricker, Olin Browne and Frank Lickliter were another stroke behind.
The 271 group included Peter Jacobsen, Larry Mize, Steve Jones, Duffy Waldorf and Brandel Chamblee.
While the record was nice, the win also gave Huston a two-year exemption. Coming into 1998, he had to use his one-time Top 50 money winner list exemption to remain on the Tour.
"The record might be broken next week," Huston said. "I didn't want it to affect the way I played."
But, to that, Watson said, "If you look at it (27-under), it's almost a birdie every other hole. That's playing great golf."
A birdie at the first hole put Huston five strokes ahead of the field. By the turn at the 7,012-yard Waialae Country Club course, Huston was 25-under.
From that point, Huston's only opponent was the record book. The tournament record was a given, so the focus switched to the all-time PGA Tour record.
He stumbled at the 505-yard 13th, but said, "After the bogey (only his third in four days), I still felt pretty much in control. I just kept trying to hit the fairways so I didn't get too concerned."
While most past winners relied on lowering their scores on the course's four par-5s, Huston picked up only eight strokes on the long holes. Instead, he birdied the 411-yard 14th hole all four days and the 427-yard eighth three times.
He also recorded seven birdies on the 12 par-3s.
The $324,000 winner's check raised Huston's 1998 winnings to almost $445,000. In four tournaments, he has won once and finished in ties for eighth and 10th, in addition to missing one cut.
The Sony Classic in awaii will be in the same early year position in 1999 and will follow the Mercedes Championships, which will be held at Kapalua's Plantation Course on the island of Maui.
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