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Kizzire struggled to handle success after Sony victory

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HONOLULU – Patton Kizzire’s playoff victory last year at the Sony Open was in many ways a life-changing event.

Along with his victory earlier in the season in Mexico, it entrenched Kizzire atop the FedExCup point list, a position he held through the West Coast swing, and it put him within range of earning his first start in the Ryder Cup.

From there, things didn’t go well. Kizzire failed to record another top-10 finish the rest of the year and finished 30th on the season-long points list.

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“The rest of the season wasn't what I wanted. I think a little bit of expectations got me and I started trying too hard, trying to change a few things to get a little better to give myself more chances,” Kizzire admitted on Tuesday at Waialae Country Club. “But it was all necessary, all part of the growing process. New opportunities and new things are sometimes difficult, and I didn't handle them as well as I could. Now, they're not new anymore.”

It was all part of a learning process for Kizzire that included his first pairing with Tiger Woods at the Honda Classic and taught the 32-year-old how to deal with dramatically increased expectations.

“I think I do better as hunter and not the hunted. I feel like if I can go after something, it frees me up and I play my best,” he said. “If I feel like I'm protecting something, really the shots don't come off properly. You don't handle them as well. I think that got me a little bit last year.”