Sleeper Picks: Sony Open in Hawaii

January 08, 2013
Rob Bolton
Sleepers: Sony Open in Hawaii
MORE SONY OPEN: Rankings | First Look | Full field | Tour grads debut
Josh Teater ... Easily could have cracked the Power Rankings after a thoroughly impressive run to close out 2012 -- six top 25s in his last 10 starts, including four top 10s. Moreover, he ranked 18th on TOUR in ball-striking (38th in greens hit) and seventh in birdies or better on par 5s. He's here instead because he was 150th in strokes gained-putting and has made only one cut in three appearances at Waialae (T38, 2012).
Chad Campbell ... While he posted three top 10s in 2012, he started the year without a top 20 in 15 starts and would finish outside the top 100 in FedExCup points. Once the TOUR's leader in ball-striking (2003), he's endured some inconsistency since. However, through it all, he's eked out four top-15 finishes in his last six appearances at Waialae and has missed just one cut in 10 tries.
Greg Owen ... All in all, he's a great fit but landed here due to the fact that he's failed to post a top 30 in three trips to Waialae. Coming off a strong year in which he matched career highs in top 10s (three) and top 25s (nine). Always a consistent ball-striker, he ranked 16th in greens in regulation last year and fifth in GIR from lies off the fairway. Also sneaky long, he placed 26th in birdies or better on par 5s. 
Casey Wittenberg ... The 2012 Tour money leader is back in the big leagues for the first time since his rookie year of 2009. A course like Waialae caters to his ball-striking. En route to leading his circuit last year in scoring average, he ranked 30th in fairways hit and 11th in greens in regulation. He also finished first in birdies or better on par 3s last year, another handy skill that could make a difference on the quartet of one-shotters this week. The par 3s at Waialae ranked 19th-most difficult in the same stat a year ago.
Hideki Matsuyama ... Arguably best known as the two-time champion of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship (2010, 2011), he's missed the cut in both appearances at Waialae and has yet to break par, but the 20-year-old is still cutting his teeth. It's impressive enough on its own that he's fifth in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, but he's also 127th in the other formula that gets more attention -- the Official World Golf Ranking. In only 17 starts that contribute to his OWGR split, he's recorded a victory (in 2011), two runner-up finishes and another three top sevens.