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Sony Open Sony Open in Hawaii: Expert Hawaii: Expert Picks

Not the flashiest picks but solid Golfers

The RSM Classic - Final Round Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Tournament Information:
Sony Open in Hawaii
Date: January 11th – 14th
Course: Waialae Country Club
Purse - $6.2MM
FedEx points – 500 to winner
2017 Winner: Justin Thomas (-27) set the 72 hole record last year

Course: Waialae Country Club. At 7,045 yards, this par 70 was opened in 1927 and designed by Seth Raynor and Charles Banks. Much like last week, wind can definitely be a factor that golfers have to be cognizant of during shots. On holes 9, 11, 12 and 17 (the signature hole) the wind can come up off the Pacific Ocean and play havoc to high altitude or softer shots. Lakes and bunkers are layered aside many of the fairways requiring accuracy off the tee. Despite all of this it always comes down to the putts that seal the successful golfers here.

6 Golfers who I think would do well at Sony Open in Hawaii, some are notable, some considerably less. I will not be selecting any of the big named guys this week as I think they can be saved for later.

My Starting 4:

Kevin Kisner – Top 5 finishes here the last two years (5th in 2016 and 4th last year) and he’s off to a strong start this year with 4 top 20 finishes in 4 tournaments. His putter has been amazing as he’s currently 4th on the tour in strokes gained putting. Last week he finished 17th and looked great with a -8 finish, I expect a top 10 finish from him this week.

Gary Woodland – Currently 16th in strokes gained putting and 23rd in strokes gained overall, Gary has made the cut in all 5 starts this season with two of them being top 20 finishes (18th at Shriners and 4th at the QBE Shootout). He comes to Waialae where he has top 15 finishes in each of his last 3 years (3rd in 2015, 13th in 2016 and 6th last year).

Zach Johnson – The ‘other’ Johnson (the one who didn’t win last week), Zach is off to a strong start with 4 consecutive top 25 finishes and two consecutive top 10 finishes. He has a good record at Waialae with an 8th place finish in 2014, 9th place finish in 2016 and 6th place finish here last year. His approach game is strong as ever (one of the best iron hitters on tour) sitting at 14th in strokes gained approaching the green and capping I off with 24th in strokes gained putting.

Hudson Swafford – He has top 15 finishes in 3 of his last 4 years (8th in 2014, 13th in 2016 and 8th last year) which puts him among the better golfers here over the last four years.

My Bench 2:

Jerry Kelly – On his first start of this year, he finished in the top ten from 2014 – 2016 (3rd, 6th and 9th) and he did not play last year. He is among the more accurate driers but it’s ultimately his putting (6th in strokes gained on average last year) that really carries his game.

Charles Howell III – Not the best putter..actually not doing very well putting at all, Charles is strong around the green (1st in strokes gained). In 5 tournaments this year he has 3 top 20 finishes and most recently a missed cut at the RSM Classic (over a month and a half ago). He has a strong record with consecutive top 10 finishes here (7th in 2016 and 4th last year).

2018 Stats

Starting 4: Avg 18th place (54%)

Bench 2: Avg 14th place (41%)

Fun fact: Only three other courses have a longer consecutive period as host on the PGA Tour (Waialae is entering it’s 53rd consecutive year).


Which Golfer will do the best at the Sony Open?

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    Justin Thomas
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Jordan Spieth
    (0 votes)
  • 33%
    Kevin Kisner
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Gary Woodland
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Hudson Swafford
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Zach Johnson
    (0 votes)
3 votes total Vote Now