Featured Groups: Sony Open in Hawaii
January 09, 2018
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
Inside the PGA TOUR
2018 Sony Open preview
The first full-field event of 2018 takes place this week at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Led by defending champion Justin Thomas – who opened last year’s tournament by shooting a 11-under 59 – a total of 144 players will compete at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.
TEE TIMES: Sony Open in Hawaii, Rounds 1 and 2
It’s the 20th year of Sony’s sponsorship of the event, and two players in the field will be making their 20th consecutive starts at Waialae – Jerry Kelly and Rory Sabbatini. As playing partners this week, they will get to compare notes and memories for at least the first two rounds. The third member of that group is J.J. Henry, who is making his 500th career PGA TOUR start this week.
Here’s a look at some of the featured groups for Thursday and Friday (FedExCup rankings in parentheses). Please note -- times listed below are ET, which is five hours ahead of local time in Honolulu.
Patton Kizzire (3), Zach Johnson (45), Jimmy Walker (N/A): Kizzire is the highest-ranked player in the field in the FedExCup standings, having posted three top 10s last fall, including a win at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba. Johnson has an excellent track record at Waialae – a win in 2009, and top 10s in three of his last four starts. Walker’s track record is equally impressive – back-to-back Sony wins in 2014-15. Tee times: Rd. 1 - 5:30 p.m. ET off 1st tee; Rd. 2 - 12:50 p.m off 10th tee.
Justin Thomas (6), Kevin Kisner (49), Jason Dufner (105): It’s an all-SEC lineup of Thomas (Alabama), Kisner (Georgia) and Dufner (Auburn). In fact, Thomas and Kisner had a bet on the National Championship game, and Kisner will have to pay off by wearing an Alabama jersey while playing the 17th hole Thursday. As for Dufner … well, no need to bring up the Peach Bowl result around him. Tee times: Rd. 1 - 5:40 p.m. ET off 1st tee; Rd. 2 - 1 p.m ET off 10th tee.
Marc Leishman (15), Si Woo Kim (21), Webb Simpson (98): Leishman and Kim, the Presidents Cup teammates, have both played well lately. Leishman has five top 10s in his last seven starts; Kim has top top-10s in his last three starts. Both were inside the top 10 at last week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions. Simpson is making his first start on TOUR since withdrawing from last fall’s The RSM Classic to be with his ailing dad Sam, who was battling Parkinson’s Disease. Sam Simpson passed away a week later. Tee times: Rd. 1 - 12:50 p.m. ET off 10th tee; Rd. 2 - 5:30 p.m. ET off 1st tee.
Xander Schauffele (33), Daniel Berger (75), Jordan Spieth (92): It’s the second consecutive year that Spieth and Berger have been paired at the Sony Open; a year ago, they were together for the first three rounds, with Spieth finishing solo third and Berger tied for 45th. Spieth – at No. 2 the highest ranked world player in the field -- and Schauffele have never been paired at a PGA TOUR event. Tee times: Rd. 1 - 1 p.m. ET off 10th tee; Rd. 2 - 5:40 p.m. ET off 1st tee.