Featured Groups: Sony Open in Hawaii
January 08, 2019
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- January 08, 2019
Inside the PGA TOUR
Sony Open in Hawaii preview
Defending champion Patton Kizzire and 2017 winner Justin Thomas will be among the favorites to win the first full-field tournament of the 2019 calendar year, this week’s Sony Open in Hawaii on the shores of Oahu, Hawaii.
Thomas is coming off a final-round 65 and a third-place finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. Kizzire is also trending in the right direction after a T8 at the Sentry last week.
The Golf Channel will carry primetime coverage from 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. ET for each of the first three rounds. Final-round coverage will start an hour earlier. PGA TOUR Radio’s coverage is from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Eastern all four days (coverage ends at 10 p.m. Eastern on Sunday).
Here’s a look at some of the Featured Groups for Thursday’s first round at Waialae (current FedExCup ranking in parentheses):
Hideki Matsuyama (100) – The Sony Open always includes a strong Japanese contingent, highlighted by Matusyama. He has been competing at the tournament since his amateur days, but a T27 here two years ago is his best finish in five starts. He is making his first start of the calendar year after two top-30 finishes in the Asian Swing.
Marc Leishman (3) – Leishman is third in the FedExCup after winning the CIMB Classic and finishing fourth at last week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions. He and Matsuyama are an important part of the International Team’s core for this year’s Presidents Cup.
Ian Poulter (47) – Poulter, who’s known for his success in another international team competition, has played the Sony just once previously, missing the cut in 2005.
Round 1 tee time: 5:30 p.m. Eastern off No. 1 (12:30 p.m. local) off No. 1; Round 2 tee time: 12:50 p.m. Eastern off No. 10 (7:50 a.m. local).
Justin Thomas (20) – Two years ago, Thomas shot a first-round 59 en route to winning at Waialae and setting the TOUR’s 72-hole scoring record. Thomas has two top-5 finishes in three starts this season, including a third-place finish at last week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions.
Matt Kuchar (9) – Kuchar’s win at this season’s Mayakoba Golf Classic was his first since the 2014 RBC Heritage. His worst finish in his past five Sony Open starts is T13, including four consecutive top-10s.
Charles Howell III (4) – Howell, who ended his own winless drought at The RSM Classic, is a consistent contender at Waialae. He’s finished in the top 10 in nine of 17 starts, including four top-3 finishes. He’s still seeking his first Sony win, though. Howell has shot in the 60s in 27 of his previous 28 rounds at Waialae.
Round 1 tee time: 5:40 p.m. Eastern off No. 1 (12:40 p.m. local); Round 2 tee time: 1 p.m. Eastern off No. 10 (8 a.m. local).
Patton Kizzire (43) – Kizzire, who won last year’s Sony after a lengthy playoff with James Hahn, has finished in the top 25 in three of five starts this fall. He made his TOUR Championship debut after winning twice last season.
Bubba Watson (152) – This is his first Sony start since 2010. He finished fourth in his debut (2006), but hasn’t finished inside the top 40 since. Watson, who won three times last season, finished 31st out of 33 players last week at Kapalua.
Patrick Reed (64) – The reigning Masters champion has played the Sony just once previously, missing the cut in 2013. His best finish this season is T7 at the World Golf Champions-HSBC Champions.
Round 1 tee time: 12:50 p.m. Eastern off No. 10 (7:50 a.m. local); Round 2 tee time: 5:30 p.m. Eastern off No. 1 (12:30 p.m. local).
Jordan Spieth (T191) – Spieth will try to get back on a track at a course where he has played well. He finished third in the 2017 Sony Open in Hawaii and was 18th last year. This will be his first start of the calendar year. He started this season with a T55 at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and missed cut at the Mayakoba Golf Classic.
Bryson DeChambeau (7) – DeChambeau has played the Sony just once previously, finishing T49 in 2017. He has won three of his previous six PGA TOUR starts and finished seventh last week.
Gary Woodland (2) – Waialae may be a short, tight track, but Woodland has thrived on its fairways. He has finished no worse than 13th in the last four years, including a T3 in 2015. He is coming off a runner-up finish at last week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he held the 54-hole lead but was passed by Xander Schauffele’s final-round 62.
Round 1 tee time: 1 p.m. Eastern off No. 10 (8 a.m. local); Round 2 tee time: 5:40 p.m. Eastern off No. 1 (12:40 p.m. local).