The PGA Tour remains in Hawaii this week for the Sony Open at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu. Mark Wilson defends the title but will face stiff competition from a strong field.
After last week’s, season opening, Tournament of Champions at Kapalua, 18 of the men who competed there will tee it up again this week. That means that, as ever, there’s an impressive line-up of star names in this event.
Last season it was Mark Wilson who came out on top at Waialae. He fired four excellent rounds in the 60s to finish two clear of Tim Clark and Steve Marino.
The Hawaiian Open has been contested at Waialae Country Club since 1965 and the list of winners is impressive – Jack Nicklaus, Hale Irwin, Ernie Els and Vijay Singh have all lifted the trophy.
Opened for play in 1927, the course has a long and distinguished history. The layout was originally by Seth Raynor and Charles Banks though Desmond Muirhead completed a redesign in 1990. It’s a course where the wind is often a significant factor.
Venue: Waialae Country Club, Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: Jan 12-15
Course stats: par 70, 7,068 yards
Purse: $5,500,000 Winner: $990,000
Defending Champion: Mark Wilson (-16)
Thursday 12 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from midnight
Friday 13 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from midnight
Saturday 14 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from midnight
Sunday 15 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from midnight
K.J. Choi – The Korean is a former winner of this event, back in 2008. He was tied fifth last week so is on good form. He’s a consistent, straight hitter and his game is clearly suited to this course.
Webb Simpson – Tied third last week, Simpson was the revelation of 2011 on the PGA Tour. He seems to feature in every event he starts at the moment and this should be no exception.
Jason Dufner – Another man who enjoyed a superb 2011, he’ll be looking to start 2012 on a similar track. He doesn’t have a great record in this event with just two top-20 finishes to his name. But when he gets in contention he tends to stay there. If he can start well, he’ll be around at the end of the week.
Key hole: 1st. Modelled by course architect Seth Raynor on the Road Hole at St Andrews, this hole used to be a par 5. At 480 yards to a shallow green protected by a huge bunker, it now plays to an average of almost 4.5.
Skills required: Driving accuracy. This is one of the tightest courses on the PGA Tour schedule, regularly ranking in the top-10 in terms of most difficult fairways to find on the circuit. The greens are tough to hold when you’re not playing in from the short stuff so finding the shortest cut will be crucial for success this week.
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