The world’s top golfers will head this week to the famed Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, Hawaii for the 2017 staging of the Sony Open. A cool $6 million is at stake for the 144-man field with the champion grabbing not only 500 FedExCup points but also the $1.08 million top prize. Read on below for an in-depth breakdown of this PGA Tour event and while you’re at it, you can check out the experts’ picks for this prestigious golf tournament.
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2017 Sony Open in Hawaii Preview
Where: Waialae Country Club, Honolulu
When: January 12-15, 2017
TV Broadcast: Golf Channel
It isn’t a complete surprise to see Jordan Spieth and Hideki Matsuyama installed as favorites to win this week’s Sony Open in Hawaii. Spieth and Matsuyama are the two highest-ranked players in the field and they are playing some excellent golf of late. Spieth has posted top-10s in four of his last five starts, including a victory at the Australian Open. He is fresh off a T-3 finish at the Tournament of Champions wherein he shot a sizzling 65 in the final round.
Matsuyama, on the other hand, arrives at this tournament as the world’s hottest golfer. The Japanese has been on fire since October, nabbing victories in Japan, China and the Bahamas along with three runner-up finishes. He came oh so close to winning the Tournament of Champions last week, finishing just three strokes shy of champion Justin Thomas. Matsuyama will need to be at his best, though, if he is to extend his top-2 streak this week in Oahu. He has missed the cut in three of his four Sony Open appearances with his best showing a T-78 in 2015.
One golfer who has had some success here in the past is American Jimmy Walker. The reigning PGA champion won this tournament back to back in 2014 and 2015. Walker loves playing in this golf course as evidenced by his career scoring average of 68.1 here at Waialae. Key to Walker’s success in this event has been his excellent drive. He ranked among the top 10 in driving distance in his title wins here. He is 69th in the PGA Tour in that category, averaging 295.7 yards per drive this season.
Another golfer who’s primed for a good showing this week is Charles Howell III. He has never missed a cut in 15 appearances at the Sony Open, with two runner-up finishes, eight top-10’s and a scoring average of 67.7. One advantage that Howell has against the rest of the field is his excellent approach play. He is 17th in the PGA Tour in strokes gained in that particular department with a solid .841 average. That has helped Howell in targeting the pins regularly this season. He is 19th on Tour in greens in regulation percentage with a 78.09 percent clip. That will be a major weapon for the Augusta native when navigating the tough Waialae course this week.
Long Shot – Zac Blair (+10,000)
One long shot who can definitely make a run at the title this week is Zac Blair. He has finished in the top-10 in each of his last two starts here in Oahu. He came so close to grabbing his first PGA Tour win in this event last year, coming up just one stroke shy of the playoff between eventual winner Fabian Gomez and Brandt Snedeker. Blair, who’s ranked No. 287 in the world right now, carries a career scoring average of 66.1 at Waialae.
Jimmy Walker (+2,000) captures his third Sony Open title.
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