Sony Open Preview

Preview of the Sony Open and guide to the leading contenders

Golf Ball and Flag

The PGA Tour remains in Hawaii for the Sony Open at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu from January 9-12 in what is the first full tournament field of the year.

Fresh from the first event of the year – last week’s Tournament of Champions, the PGA Tour remains on the stunning Pacific island as Matt Kuchar bids to defend his Sony Open title.

Kuchar won comprehensively by four shots last from Andrew Putnam to be crowned champion in 2019 with a four-round score of 22-under par.

Sony Open History

The Sony Open was known as the Hawaiian Open when it was first staged in 1965 and has carried its current sponsored title since 1999.

It is the first event of the PGA Tour year featuring a full field, coming one week after the Tournament of Champions which is for the previous year’s winners only.

The tournament has only ever been played at one venue – the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu – and had a stellar list of form winners which include two-time champions Hubert Green, Lanny Wadkins, Corey Pavin, Ernie Els and Jimmy Walker as well as the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Ben Crenshaw, Hale Irwin, Mark O’Meara, Jim Furyk, Vijay Singh, Zach Johnson, Justin Thomas and Kuchar.

Michelle Wie controversially played in the event on four occasions as part of a sponsors invite from Sony, missing the cut each time – the first of which was in 2004 as a 14-year-old.

Sony Open Course

The Waialae Country Club is located in Honolulu and was first created in 1927. It has hosted the Sony Open since 1965.

The course poses a par-70 challenge measuring 7,044 yards, and features some stunning holes along the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

Justin Thomas set a new tournament score of 253 (27-under) when winning the Sony Open in 2017.

Leading Contenders

Justin Thomas is favourite to win a second Sony Open title having won last week’s Tournament of Champions at Kapalua Plantation Course.

Thomas set a new tournament record of 27-under (253) when winning by seven shots from Justin Rose three years ago and warmed up for this with his 12th PGA Tour title last week.

Patrick Reed, who along with Xander Schauffele was beaten in a play-off by Thomas last week, will be out to go one better at Waialae Country Club.

Defending champion Kuchar will be looking to go back-to-back and join the multiple winners of the Sony Open, while Jimmy Walker is bidding for a third victory in the event.

Webb Simpson and Hideki Matsuyama will both expect big weeks, while ones to watch could include Collin Morikawa and Joaquin Niemann after solid weeks in the Tournament of Champions.

Putnam is back for another crack at the title and last year’s third place finishers Corey Conners and Chez Reavie will also be expecting to build upon their first outings of the year at Kapalua last week.

Interestingly, the last six winners of the Sony Open all played the previous week at the Tournament of Champions.

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