Scott and Kuchar favourites at Sony Open
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2014 Sony Open in Hawaii | Preview | 07 Jan 2014
The traditional opening full field event of the year on the PGA Tour, the Sony Open, will again be the first such event of the year 2014 and several of the players who fought out the closing stages of this past week’s Hyundai Championship are well placed to produced another good week.
The Waialae Country Club in Honolulu has played host to this since 1965 although there were several smaller versions earlier.
Russell Henley is the defending champion having won his first PGA Tour event event as a cardholder when a three shot winner last year.
Adam Scott heads the field in terms of world ranking and after a solid start to the year last week on Maui then his chances appear good to continue his great run over the last twelve months. Scott has had mixed results in the event although he did finish runner-up to Zach Johnson in 2009 and there is a great opportunity for those two players to quinella the event again.
The win in 2009 aside Johnson’s record in this event is rather ordinary with not one other top ten in seven other starts. Johnson’s game is in such good shape right now however that momentum alone will take him a long way.
Matt Kuchar gets himself into contention nearly every time he plays and stands a very good chance of doing so again especially given his efforts the last two times he has played the event. He finishes 5th in 2011 and again last year with several low rounds amongst those performances. He is a great chance.
Jordan Spieth finished runner-up last week at Kapalua and although he is playing the event for the first occasion that has regularly been the case in his last twelve months as a rookie on the PGA Tour. He seems capable of handling anything put in front of him and has appeared comfortable in the sort of conditions he will face this week.
Tim Clark has been runner-up on each of the last two occasions he has played the event, the South African’s only real concern being his lack of tournament play of late. He has not played since the Mayakoba Classic in November so will have to be taken on trust but there is little denying his record here.
Harris English will play this event for the third occasion and given his recent form he looks some sort of chance. He won the recent Mayakoba Classic in conditions that will not be dissimilar to those he will face this week and did well enough when 11th last week at Kapalua to enhance his chances further.
There will be a lot of interest in the appearance of Hideki Matsuyama who has played this event on three occasions as an amateur without making a cut. He is though now one of the game’s most exciting prospects and should improve his record considerably.
Another Asian star who will play the event although this time via invite is the 15 year old Chinese golfer Guan Tianlang who nine months ago became the youngest golfer to make the cut at the Masters.
Australians in the field aside from Scott are Marc Leishman, Stuart Appleby, Robert Allenby, Greg Chalmers, Scott Gardiner, Steve Bowditch, John Senden, Bronson La Cassie and New Zealanders, Danny Lee and Tim Wilkinson.
Australians have won the event on only two occasions with both Bruce Crampton and Brett Ogle taking the title.
Leishman has played this event consistently well and although he has not played a tournament in nearly two months he might go well fresh.