Grayson Murray waited a long time to get his second PGA Tour victory, but it finally arrived as the Sony Open in a three-man playoff.
He entered the 72nd hole one shot back of both Keegan Bradley and Byeong Hun An. Murray stuffed his approach two feet for a tap in a birdie to put himself into the playoff with Bradley and An.
Then in the playoff, Murray did the unthinkable: he sank a 39-foot birdie putt to win the title.
Murray gave an epic fist pump after the ball landed in its home, but it wasn’t over.
“That putt was looking good the whole way,” Murray said. “I’m a sucker for some good celebrations. I love making big-time putts in big-time moments. I’m never going to back down from a celebration.”
While the fist pump was impeccable, he had to wait for An to putt from 4 feet. It was Murray’s day as An missed his birdie putt, and so did Bradley.
It was a day full of grinding for the Raleigh, N.C. native. He carded a bogey-free 67 but made just three birdies all day.
“Hard work pays off. It’s not easy, you know,” Murray said. “I wanted to give up a lot of times, give up on myself, give up on the game of golf, give up on life at times. Just persevere, and when you get tired of fighting, let someone else fight for you. That’s what happened.”
If that quote sounds familiar, Jimmy Valvano coined the famous phrase. The quote may not be word for word from Valvano, but it got its point across.
“Every year we see the Jimmy Valvano Award at the ESPYs, and we always see him talking back in the day, his famous quotes,” Murray said. “It’s something to live by. He was such a great inspiration to everyone, and they’re still raising tons of money through his foundation. A guy like that who can have that type of attitude who’s basically dying, why can’t I?”
Murray is eight months sober and has been fighting back to get into the right frame of mind. His story of finding his faith and having his support system around him has gotten him to this point.
He is fighting off those demons and got the job done Sunday. It took him a long time to get to where he is now.
Many would say that this win changed his life, but to Murray, it didn’t.
“It’s a lot for my career. I knew today was not going to change my life,” he said. “My fiancée changed my life; Jesus Christ changed my life. Today wasn’t going to change my life, but it did change my career a little bit, and I’m excited.”
With this victory, he earned entrance into the Signature Events this year and will make his first trip to Augusta National to play at the Masters.
Murray is fighting to better himself every day and to stay the course. This week in Hawaii showed what he is capable of.
Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. For more golf coverage, be sure to follow us @_PlayingThrough on all major social platforms. You can also follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports.