The First Look: Sony Open in Hawaii
January 03, 2020
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
Matt Kuchar pulls away late, wins by four at Sony Open
Justin Thomas, who zipped into the PGA TOUR’s record books with a decisive win three years ago, headlines the first full-field event of the calendar year.
Matt Kuchar defends his title after a four-shot victory in 2019.
FIELD NOTES: Justin Thomas and 2019 winner Matt Kuchar highlight the group of 21 golfers who will play both events of the TOUR’s Hawaiian double in 2020 … Brendon Todd looks to build on his strong start in the FedExCup after two wins at the Bermuda Championship and Mayakoba Golf Classic ... Eight Presidents Cup participants are looking to roll the momentum from the team competition into the 2020 portion of their schedule … Past champions including Jerry Kelly (2002), Vijay Singh (2005), Zach Johnson (2009), Ryan Palmer (2010), Russell Henley (2013), Jimmy Walker (2014-15), Fabian Gomez (2016), and Thomas (2017), Kuchar (2019), and Patton Kizzire (2018) are returning to Waialae.
FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 points.
COURSE: Waialae Country Club, 7,044 yards, par 70. This year will mark the 55th consecutive year as a PGA TOUR host, a record topped by just three other courses.
STORYLINES: Last season's Barracuda Championship winner Collin Morikawa is teeing it up this week with plenty of family support. Lots of Morikawa’s family lives on Maui and Oahu and he visited Hawaii many times while growing up … Justin Thomas just loves Hawaii, going a combined 101 under (as of January 2nd) at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and Sony Open in Hawaii since 2017. He has the 36-, 54-, and 72-hole records at Waialae … Since the Sentry Tournament of Champions moved back to Hawaii 21 years ago, 15 of 21 Sony Open winners have also played at Kapalua the week prior … Corey Conners returns to Waialae after he Monday qualified into this event a year ago and went on to finish T3. It was the best result by a Monday qualifier last season, until, three months later, when Conners notched his first PGA TOUR win after Monday qualifying at the Valero Texas Open. … Kuchar looks to become the fourth golfer in Sony Open history to defend his title after Hubert Green (1978-79), Corey Pavin (1986-87), Ernie Els (2003-04), and Jimmy Walker (2014-15).
72-HOLE RECORD: 253, Justin Thomas (2017)
18-HOLE RECORD: 59, Justin Thomas (1st round, 2017)
LAST TIME: Matt Kuchar won for the second time last season with a four-shot win over Andrew Putnam. Kuchar got off to a shaky start, bogeying three of his first five holes but righted the ship after making the turn, going 6 under for his final 10 holes. In November Kuchar had ended a winless drought of nearly four years, capturing the Mayakoba Golf Classic. It marked just the second time in his career Kuchar won twice in the same season. Marc Leishman, Hudson Swafford, Chez Reavie and Corey Conners – who Monday qualified – finished T3, but were five shots back of Kuchar’s winning total. Of note, 54-year-old Davis Love III finished T7, his best TOUR result since he won the 2015 Wyndham Championship.
HOW TO FOLLOW
Television: Thursday-Saturday, 7 p.m.-10:30 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Sunday, 6 p.m.-10 p.m. (Golf Channel)
Radio: Thursday-Saturday, 5 p.m.-10:30 p.m. ET. Sunday, 5 p.m.- 10 p.m. ET (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com/liveaudio).