Quick look at the Sony Open in Hawaii
January 09, 2019
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
Inside the PGA TOUR
Sony Open in Hawaii preview
The PGA TOUR has been coming to Waialae since 1965, making it the third-longest running host venue among annual (non-major) PGA TOUR stops. Great weather, classic Hawaiian course, must-see destination, laid-back beachy vibe – gee, we can’t imagine why it’s so popular among TOUR players.
No hole on the PGA TOUR last season was easier than the 506-yard par-5 ninth at Waialae, which played to a stroke average of 4.210 (0.790 under par). The hole allowed the most birdies (285) and the second-most eagles (39) of any hole during the 2017-18 season. An occasionally strong cross wind and out-of-bounds on both sides evidently doesn’t faze most of the TOUR pros.A detailed look at the tee shot on the par-5 ninth hole.
Say hello to the toughest fairway to hit on the PGA TOUR. In the ShotLink Era (since 2003), just 36.4 percent of all tee shots (2,545 of 6,992 shots) at the 551-yard par-5 18th at Waialae have successfully found the fairway. That’s the lowest percentage of any hole (minimum 2,200 attempts) on TOUR. Here’s a look at where all tee shots at the 18th landed last year at the Sony Open.
From PGA TOUR meteorologist Joe Halvorson: “Outside an isolated shower risk, a largely dry week is in store. Any showers that develop are expected to be short-lived and will produce light rainfall. Winds are forecast to remain fairly light through the week, alternating between weak east and southeasterly breezes. Temperatures will reach highs in the low 80s through the week.”
For the latest weather news from Honolulu, Hawaii, check out PGATOUR.COM’s Weather Hub.
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BY THE NUMBERS
31 – Number of rounds at 62 or better at Waialae in the ShotLink Era (since 2003). That’s the second-highest total in that span, with only Sedgefield (33) providing more 62-or-better rounds. Justin Thomas and Chad Campbell each have two rounds of 62 or better at Waialae – the only players with multiple rounds.
6 – Number of sudden-death holes Patton Kizzire needed to win last year’s playoff against James Hahn. It was the longest playoff on TOUR since the 2012 Mayakoba Golf Classic.
9 – Players who have made the Sony Open in Hawaii their first career TOUR win. The most recent was Russell Henley in 2013. Henley was also the last player to win the event in his first start at Waialae.
Welcome back: Bubba Watson is making his first start at Waialae since his T-46 finish in 2010. His best result is a solo fourth in his first Sony start in 2006 … Adam Scott and Matt Kuchar are back at Sony after missing the last two years. Scott tied for second in 2009; Kuchar has four top-10 finishes in his five starts at Waialae.
20-somethings: Three players in the field are in their third decade of playing at Waialae. Vijay Singh (the 2005 winner) and Jerry Kelly (who won in 2002) are making their 22nd starts at Sony, while Rory Sabbatini is making his 21st consecutive start.
Top Japanese players: Seven Japanese players are in this week’s field, led by five-time TOUR winner Hideki Matsuyama, reigning RBC Heritage champ Satoshi Kodaira, and the country’s top amateur golfer, Takumi Kanaya. Kanaya is among five Japanese players who received sponsor exemptions from the tournament. Others include: Rikuya Hoshino, Yuta Ikeda, Yuki Inamori and Shugo Imahira. On Tuesday, Imahira – the Order of Merit winner on the Japan Tour in 2018 -- received a special invite to play at this year’s Masters.