The players that should be on your fantasy rosters and should be making the most *noise come the weekend.
Matt Kuchar: He finished the week T6 at Kapalua and the last two times he’s teed it up at Waialae he’s finished T5. He led the field in birdies last week and he was second in putts per GIR. His best round last week was his final round, six-under 67, so he comes to Honolulu trending in the right direction.
Adam Scott: He’s the second-best player in the world so it should be no surprise that he’s at or near the top of this column whenever he tees it up. This is his last tournament before a well-deserved hiatus so I would expect plenty from him. He played here last in 2010 but MC. He’s hardly the player now than he was back then. He was second in 2009 so that should make you feel better. He also led the field in strokes gained-putting last week so that should make you feel even better!
Charles Howell III: He’s teed it up for 12 tournaments at Waialae and he’s found the top 10 a whopping seven times. Should I keep typing? His last five starts he’s posted T3, T2, T68, T5 and fourth. Throw in a T2 from 2007, T3 from 2005 and T4 from 2002 and it’s shocking that he hasn’t closed the deal here. #oneanddone
Jordan Spieth: Each time out he finds a new barrier and each time it seems like he clearly hurdles it. Last week, in his first time at Kapalua he made only two bogeys. He shot 62 at Deutsche Bank. He made seven birdies in 10 holes coming home at The TOUR Championship. He chipped in to get in a playoff at the JDC where he went on to win for the first time. He also enjoys “island golf” as he was second last week, second in Puerto Rico last March and T9 on Hilton Head. Actually, he was pretty good everywhere but he doesn’t mind some wind and water obviously.
Zach Johnson: The 2009 champ here and the champ last week at Kapalua, Johnson adds his name to a prestigious list of “double Hawaiian winners”. After only posting one top 10 at Kapalua in six events before his win last week, Johnson, in eight events at Waialae, only has one top 10 as well, his win in 2009. His form has been excellent for six months. I would expect another top 10 this week based on his form alone. As stated above, only Ernie Els has gone back-to-back while island hopping as he took the HTOC and the Sony in 2003.
Chris Kirk: He put 10 of 12 career rounds in the 60s as he’s playing this even for the fourth straight season. He posted his best finish of the lot last season where his second round 62 buoyed him to a T5 finish. He did that with an EIGHT on his scorecard so to say he likes it around Waialae is a gross understatement. His putter was cool last week as he finished T16 at Kapalua but he still was T9 in birdies.
Tim Clark: In four events at the Sony Open he’s finished second twice, including his last two finishes, T12 and T25. He’s shot 64 or better in three of those four tournaments. His last 11 rounds are under par. He’s seen four weekends in five events to start 2013-14 and that includes T2 at The McGladrey when he fired 62 to close. He was T36 the following week at Mayakoba but that included a 63. Remember, he shot 21-under here and LOST BY THREE to Russell Henley last year!
Jason Dufner: After making only five bogeys and a boatload of pars last week in finishing fifth, Dufner should be flying high at Honolulu this week. His best finishes in six starts are just T13 and T20 but he’s seen this course enough times to have figured it out.
Harris English: I like the fact that he only made two bogeys in his final 36 holes at Kapalua last week. Not bad for his first trip around the Plantation course. His chilly putter saw most of those holes turn into pars but he was bogey-free 69 (four-under) to wrap up on Monday. He’s played at Waialae twice and finished T67 in 2012 and T9 last year which included 62 on Saturday. His worst round in 5 tournaments to begin the year is 71. Ding.
Jimmy Walker: His first trip to Kapalua saw him spray it everywhere and struggle to hit GIR but when he did, he was third in putts per GIR. He heads to Waialae where he’s a bit more familiar with the surroundings. This will be his eighth time around this Seth Raynor design. He finished 68-64 last year to finish T26 and was fourth in 2011. I’m going to ride him again this season as I did in 2013. Heck, Rickie Fowler saw what Butch Harmon did with him and now Fowler’s with Butch!
Hideki Matsuyama: The young Japanese player brought home a victory in his native Japan at the Casio World Open in the “off-season” and pegged another top 10 finish at the Phoenix Dunlop. This makes me forget about his WD back in November. He’s 0-fer in three attempts at Waialae but I think he’s turned a corner professionally, evidenced by his run stateside in 2013, especially the majors. With full-time status, the only pressure on him is whatever he’s putting on himself.
Horses-for-Courses/Form Players/Long Shots
Brian Gay: After MC in his first two trips here in in 1999 and 2000, Gay has played the weekend in 12 straight events. In his last five events he’s finished T31, T6, T13, T25 and T5. Gay broke his duck at Kapalua last week with his first round in the 60s, 65, and that ended up being the low round of the tournament. He should be on your radar this week as he was also T4 at McGladrey.
John Rollins: With finishes of T20, T10 and T8 in three of the last four years, Rollins needs to be on your radar this week. Those 12 rounds have produced nine rounds in the 60s and zero rounds over par. Saddle up!
Brian Stuard: His solo second at Mayakoba in his last time out suggests he’s in good form, no? His scorecard at Waialae in 2013 read 66-68-65-65 for T5. He also racked up a pair of 66s in a T25 finish in 2010. He was also T6 at the Greenbrier last year so he must like Seth Raynor designs.
Rory Sabbatini: Since his WD in 2004, Sabbatini has seen the weekend in nine straight Sony Opens. In that time he has racked up a second, T2, T12 and a T13 as his highest finishes. He only has seven rounds over par in that stretch as well. He bounced back from a slow 2013-14 start with T3 at Mayakoba his last time out. Plenty of experience is a positive and he replaced Dustin Johnson in the HTOC Pro-Am so I know he’s been over there for a bit getting ready!
Ryo Ishikawa: In four events in 2013-14, the young Japanese has racked up finishes of T21, T2, T66 and T5 so he’s continued the excellent form that saw him regain his TOUR card in the Web.com Playoffs.
Josh Teater: He’s trending in the proper direction at Waialae as he MC in his first two events without a round in the 60s. In his last two visits, five of his eight rounds have been in the 60s and that includes his two closing rounds of 65-65 last year to see him secure T15.
Brendon Todd: His last finish on any TOUR outside of the top 30 was in April. In the opening part of the season he continued his steady play as he racked up T26, T12 and T16 in the first part of the 2013-2014 season. He’s looking to join former Georgia Bulldogs Russell Henley, Harris English and Chris Kirk as a winner on TOUR in the last calendar year.
Scott Brown: He’s already had a T3, T4 and T16 in five 2013-14 events and is well on his way to playing with house’s money for the rest of the season. Some folks will argue that players who play well in Mayakoba and Puerto Rico play well at Waialae. He fits that angle as well.
Chris Stroud: It’s been an all-or-nothing start this season for Stroud as he’s played four events and finished T3 twice and MC in the other two. After finishing T13 in 2012, he MC last year as he fired 71-69. He’s now seen the weekend in two of four starts at Waialae but I’ll take a shot on a guy with that much upside.
Jerry Kelly: The 2002 champ loves it over here as he’s teeing it up for the 17th time in 2014. He’s made 13 of 16 cuts and only has a handful of rounds over par. He’s racked up six top 10s in those 16 starts.
Sean O’Hair: With finishes of T2 and T12 in his last three starts at Waialae, he could be an excellent fit in later rounds of deeper drafts. After securing his playing privileges through an excellent Web.com Playoffs, O’Hair has started T26, T15 before MC and MC in his final two events of 2013.
Scott Piercy: #hiya. He’s seen the weekend three times in five starts at the Sony and has T12 (2009), T23 (2012) and T15 (2013) to show for his troubles. He opened last year 64-64 before 72 on Saturday knocked him off the unbelievable pace set by Russell Henley. He rebounded for 68 on Sunday to stay in the top 15. Only three of his 11 rounds in 2013-14 are in the 60s.
Jeff Overton: The newlywed is looking to continue the momentum he created last fall after finishes of T9, T16, T16 and T23 in five events (MC in the other). After a disappointing, by his standards, 2013, Overton is currently sitting 19th in the FedExCup standings. I like him this week as 10 of his last 12 rounds at Waialae are in the 60s.
Will MacKenzie: He hasn’t finished better that T42 in four appearances at the Sony but his current form has my attention. Similar to Overton, Will Macca has posted T9, T15 and T12 in four events to get things rolling in the right direction this season.
Scott Langley: He was T3 last year in his rookie season and fired 17-under par. He had 24 birdies and an eagle. He, sadly, also had NINE bogeys. He opened with 62. If you need a deep, horse-for-course guy, here he is. His last two top 25s are island courses, T22 at McGladrey and T24 at Harbour Town.
Marc Leishman: If the wind blows, it won’t hurt to have this fella on your squad this week. The Aussie has four tournaments under his white belt here and has finishes of T12, T20, T27 and T9 last year that included four rounds of 68 or better. He’s a solid fill to any roster.
Carl Pettersson: All or nothing, so you can choose! In his last eight starts he’s finished T59, T2, MC, T5, MC, T25, MC and T10. If you believe in numerology, a good one is on the horizon this year!
K.J. Choi: He followed his 2008 victory with a T12 but his last four outings here, all in a row, have been MC, T38, MC and T39.
Mark Wilson: His fall has consisted of one cut made in three events and that was T48 on Sea Island. He’s missed the cut in both his starts here after his victory in 2011.
Johnson Wagner: In his last five starts here he’s MC except for his 2012 victory. His quiet 2013 seeped into 2013-14 as he’s begun this season MC, MC and T58 in his last three starts.
Cameron Tringale: He’s 0-4 here. That’s a Golden Sombrero for you baseball fans.