The first full field event of the calendar year is the Sony Open in Waialae Country Club in Hawaii. Jimmy Walker is the defending champion thanks to a final round 63, finishing one stroke better than Chris Kirk.
Waialae CC is a 7,044 yard par 70. The course has hosted the PGA tournament since 1965, the third longest tenure of any current event.
This Week’s Fantasy Golf Picks
I was curious how Jimmy Walker would follow up his excellent 2014 season and if last week is any indication the answer is “more of the same”. He continues to be a birdie machine. I don’t take much stock in Jimmy’s loss last week. He says he was still hitting the ball solidly on the back nine. It seemed like he was playing defensively, trying not to make a mistake. Despite only one back-to-back winner since the renovation in 1999, I think the defending champ will have a very strong showing.
Continuing with the “not going out on a limb” trend, I’m also taking last year’s runner up, Chris Kirk. Hear me out: Kirk finished last week’s Tournament of Champions with a course record-tying 62 (Jason Day tied the record later the same day as well). He also fired a 62 here in 2013 to tie Waialae’s course record. Last year, Kirk woke up Sunday morning as the 54 hole leader. Another course record this weekend would mean fantasy gold.
You know who else likes playing here (or playing in Hawaii in general)? Zach Johnson. Last year he won the Tournament of Champions then finished top 10 at the Sony. He finished top 10 last week, so if he’s reversing the order this year that means he wins this week, right? He won here in 2009. When Zach plays well somewhere, he has a tendency to continue to play a course well.
Who else is a former winner of this tournament that plays well in Hawaii and possibly played very well last week? How about Russell Henley? He not only won the Sony Open in 2013, but set the 72 hole scoring record in the process. Henley caught fire late last week to finish in a tie for 3rd place. Waialae is flatter than Kapalua and about 400 yards shorter, so Russell , in theory, should have an easier time getting the putter in his hands.
Hyundai Tournament of Champions Wrap Up
Holy Patrick Reed! An impressive win makes him only the third American to win four times on the PGA Tour by the age of 25, joining Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson on the list.
Unfortunately, I did not choose Reed in our fantasy league. 6th place was the best I could do with Sang-Moon Bae. I loved having Bae for the first 3 rounds, but he just didn’t get it going on Monday. Bubba Watson finished 10th. Charley Hoffman tore it up over the weekend but only finished T14. Geoff Ogilvy finished T27.
Not picking the winner in a limited field event won’t gain any ground on the league leaders. I’m still sitting in 5th place in the standings.
Good luck this week!