Chris Kirk holds off Spieth, Theegala for 2024’s first PGA Tour title at the Sentry

Chris Kirk plays an approach shot during the Sentry.

Chris Kirk is the PGA Tour's first winner of 2024.

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Everything was going right for Chris Kirk.

Last year’s Honda Classic winner was making birdie after birdie at Kapalua’s Plantation course, extending the one-shot lead he began the day out to two and even three.

But everyone else was rolling too during a crazy low-scoring week at the Sentry.

By the time Kirk reached the 15th hole, he was six under for the day, 27 under for the week, but he was tied with Jordan Spieth and trailing Sahith Theegala by one.

However, he never waivered in making the game look easy, knocking it on par-5 in two and making an easy birdie before delivering a knockout blow two holes later.

From 209 yards, Kirk’s five-iron never left the flag as it landed a few paces short of the green and rolled out to just two-and-a-half feet from the cup.

He then coasted down the 18th with a par to come home with a 65 and win the Sentry at 29 under, collecting his sixth career PGA Tour title.

“Just kind of kept reminding myself of no matter how I felt, no matter how nervous I was, there was nothing really stopping me from hitting great shots, hitting great putts,” Kirk said. “And I was able to kind of remind myself of that before every shot and that one on 17 I’ll remember for a long time.”

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Kirk’s win at Kapalua comes in his first attempt at the PGA Tour’s year-opening event in eight years after he punched his ticket to Maui by winning the Palm Beach event last spring. That was his first victory in almost eight years, a time during which he left the game for a period in 2019 while he dealt with alcoholism.

His breakthrough last year helped him finish in the top 50 of the FedEx Cup standings, giving him entry into all of the PGA Tour’s $20 million Signature events for this season.

Now he’ll get to cash one of the $3.6 million first-place checks from the first of those eight events.

“I’m just enjoying competing, I’m enjoying the work, I love, I didn’t have that for awhile and to be back to loving what I do,” Kirk said. “I love the process of working to be the best player that I can when I’m working on that, and then … working on being as good of a father and husband as I can when I’m off the golf course. It’s a constant process and I’m just loving every minute of it.”

But it wasn’t without a challenge as Kapalua played to a scoring average of 66.7 Sunday, the lowest single round in the event’s history, besting the record set Friday by nearly a shot. As Kirk failed to birdie 12, 13 and the drivable par-4 14th, Spieth and Theegala made their moves.

Spieth, who started the day three back, birdie 10, 11, 14 and 15 to grab a share of the lead, but drove into a bunker on 16 and made bogey after his ball was plugged under the lip.

Theegala meanwhile birdied the 16th a group ahead, his fourth in a row, to grab the solo lead himself before Kirk equalized him at 28 under on 15. Needing a birdie at the last to put the pressure on Kirk, the 26-year-old who got his first win last fall at the Fortinet Championship couldn’t get up and down from in front of the green in two, missing a 10-footer.

Theegala ended up with a 63 Sunday, one of four scores of that number or better posted in the final round. One of the others belonged to Sungjae Im, who in finishing T5 at 25 under, set a new PGA Tour record for most birdies in a 72-hole event with 34.

Jack Hirsh Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and recently returned to the program to serve as head coach. Jack also still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at