Full field Sony Open ushers in PGA Tour
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2013 Sony Open in Hawaii | Preview | 09 Jan 2013
The first full field event of the 2013 USPGA Tour, the Sony Open, gets underway at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu on Thursday where it is hoped the second event of the season has a lot more luck than the first.
Having just finished the Hyundai Championship on Tuesday, those players involved in the opening event of the year and are playing the Sony have made the short trip to the island of Hawaii for the now traditional second event of the year.
Following his impressive four shot victory last week Dustin Johnson appears again to be that man to beat provided of course he has ironed out a swing which may have been altered marginally by the demanding conditions he and the rest of the Hyundai field experienced last week.
Johnson has played this event just twice although on both occasions he has played well enough to be considered a factor this week. Johnson was 16th in 2010 and 10th on debut in 2008.
Keegan Bradley played well when 4th last week at Kapalua and although he has not played great in two starts in this event he is an increasingly classy player.
Carl Pettersson has played this event well on occasions and played well in the demanding conditions of last week.
Matt Kuchar has not played this event well and on that basis he could be dismissed although his recent form has been very good. He missed only one cut in all of 2012 and he could do well despite his indifferent results in the event. Having said that he did finish 5th in 2011 after a run of poor form generally with his game.
Zach Johnson is a former winner of this event and had a fine season in 2012 including his two victories. He could do well at longer odds.
John Senden has had a good break of a month since his Australian PGA Championship appearance and while he did not often contend in 2012 he made a lot of cuts and recorded plenty of solid finishes.
Charles Howell regularly performs well at this venue and towards the end of 2012 he was putting together several good tournaments, Six top tens in 11 starts at Waialae tells the story of a man who enjoys this layout immensely and he might be a chance at longer odds.
As is often the case at this event given the connection of Hawaii with Japan and that Sony are the sponsors, the tournament often sees the appearance of a Japan Tour player or two and in 2013 Hideki Matsuyama will create a lot of interest.
Matsuyama is still an amateur but he is a player good enough to have made the cut at Augusta in his only two appearances at the Masters and in fact led the amateurs on debut in 2011. Matsuyama has also won the Visa Taiheiyo Masters on the Japan Golf Tour and two months ago finished runner-up at the flagship Dunlop Phoenix. He is a genuine star of Japanese golf despite still being at college there and is expected to create quite a following this week.
The tournament often sees the appearance of golfers playing their first PGA Tour event as those who have gained their Tour cards in December are let loose on the holy grail of world professional golf.
Australians are often amongst that group and this year Scott Gardiner and Alistair Presnell get to play their first PGA Tour event as cardholders although Presnell has played a WGC event and the 2012 US Open. Both played their way onto the Tour via the Web.Com Tour last year.
Other Australians in the field include John Senden, Marc Leishman, Robert Allenby, Matt Jones, Rod Pampling, Cameron Percy and Steve Bowditch.
New Zealanders Danny Lee and Steve Alker have also made the field after securing one of the four Open qualifying places in the field.
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