Expert picks: Sony Open in Hawaiitext sizeJanuary 09, 2013
The first full-field event of the 2013 season will be contested this week at Waialae. Here's how the PGATOUR.COM experts sized up the top contenders:
How it works: Our experts from PGATOUR.COM select the player they think will win this week's event by using a draft process (no two picks can be the same). The player who wins the previous week picks last the following week.
MORE: Power Rankings | First Look | Featured Groups | Tee times | Turf Talk | Make your picks Expert Picks: Sony Open in Hawaii Expert Pick Order Player Selected Brian Wacker ZACH JOHNSON: He tied for 12th here two years ago and won the year before that. Waialae sets up perfectly for Johnson's fairway-and-greens game, too.
John Swantek MARK WILSON: The 2011 champion in Honolulu has always been a fast starter; all 5 of his TOUR victories have come in the first 3 months of the season. And he looked very sharp in Maui.
If Swantek had the first pick ... Wilson
Mike McAllister CHARLES HOWELL III: After changing coaches late last season, he showed improvement. Plus, he loves Waialae. In 11 starts at Sony, he has six top-5 finishes, including a T2 last year. Expect CH3's 13th season on TOUR to be a productive one.
If McAllister had the top pick ... Howell
Amanda Balionis DUSTIN JOHNSON: Unlike 2012, he's healthy from the start and his Hyundai victory shows it. In two previous starts here, the seven-time TOUR winner has finished no worse than a T16th. Expect DJ to carry his momentum from one island to another.
If Balionis had the top pick ... D. Johnson
Chris Dunham TIM CLARK: I was hoping Clark would fall to me. He finished T2 in 2011 and his worst finish in three starts at Waialae is a tie for 25th. I expect big things from the 2010 PLAYERS champ, who showed flashes a year ago after returning from elbow surgery.
If Dunham had the top pick ... Clark
Bill Cooney CARL PETTERSSON: Pettersson's not the most accurate off the tee (147th last season), but it didn't affect him here last season (T2) or in 2010 (T5). He was 20th in strokes gained-putting and 19th in scoring average in 2012. #driveforshowputtfordough
If Cooney had the top pick ... Z. Johnson
Ryan Smithson MATT KUCHAR: Had a good shot to win this event in 2011 but shot 69 in the final round to fall into a tie for fifth. Waialae's short length and classic design sets up perfectly for his game. I expect no slippage from this guy in 2013.
If Smithson had the top pick ... Clark
Helen Ross JOHN ROLLINS: He's finished 20th or better each of the last three years at Waialae -- and the last two were top-10 finishes. There's no time like the present for the three-time TOUR champ to snap a four-year victory drought.
If Ross had the top pick ... Z. Johnson
Anne Szeker BRIAN GAY: Gay has a long history of success at Waialae, making 11 consecutive cuts here with three top-15s in the last four years. He ranked fourth on TOUR in strokes gained-putting in 2012 and that plays well anywhere.
If Szeker had the top pick ... Clark
John Schwarb BRENDON DE JONGE: I said at the start of the year that he'd finally break through and win, and Waialae could be the spot. He shot 62 in Round 2 last year.
If Schwarb had the top pick ... de Jonge