The Tour heads to Honolulu and historic Waialae Country Club for the Sony Open and the first full-field event of 2017. This year’s Sony is headlined by “Golden Boy” Jordan Spieth, who is fresh off a t3rd finish at Kapalua. While Spieth’s the biggest name, the story to watch is red-hot Hideki Matsuyama, who is on an absolute tear notching four wins and two second-place finishes in his last 6 starts.
What happened in 2016?
Fabian Gomez got hot on Sunday, firing an 8-under 62 to post 20 under par and wait, while Zac Blair and Brandt Snedeker chased down the stretch. On the par-5 18th, Snedeker was able to pull even with an up-and-down birdie while Blair narrowly missed a 15’ eagle putt to join Gomez and Snedeker in a playoff. On the first playoff hole, the pair traded pars before Gomez made a birdie to win on the second hole.
Old school architecture
This week’s venue, Waialae Country Club, was designed by Golden Age legend Seth Raynor in 1926. Waialae was one of Raynor’s final designs, and while not a ton of Raynor’s original design remains intact, the track still possesses some of its famed template holes, including the Biarritz, Double Plateau and Short holes. The par-70 setup stretches to just over 7,000 yards, and its tight doglegs place a premium on accuracy and shotmaking rather than brute power.
Hawaii’s prodigal son
The legend of Tadd Fujikawa lives on as the one-time phenom will make his return to the Sony Open after advancing through the Monday qualifier to earn a spot in this week’s field. Fujikawa infamously made the cut in the 2007 Sony Open at the young age of 16, becoming the second-youngest player to accomplish the feat. Fujikawa’s future looked bright and headed for stardom, but he’s struggled ever since. The now 26-year-old professional is playing on the mini-tour circuit, but maybe he can muster up some of that magic he had just 10 years ago.
The first field event could have players adjusting to their equipment and shaking off some holiday rust. Check out who Paulie thinks are a couple of good values for Draftkings and who he would burn in your one-and-done league.
Read NLU's full Sony Open Preview.
(But not the good kind.) The windy conditions have continued in the Bahamas, and the scores are astonishingly high. Tuesday morning saw the completion of the second round with the cut falling at +12, breaking the previous high cut mark of +10. As it stands halfway through the third round, former PGA Tour player Nicholas Thompson leads as the lone man under par at 2-under, nursing a two-shot lead over Corey Connors.
On the other end of the spectrum, I imagine Greg Eason is just happy it’s over. Eason fired rounds of 90-95 at the Great Exuma to finish in last place. Eason is hardly a slouch, the professional respectively finished 74th and 63rd on the Web.com money list the past two seasons. The final round will wrap up today and you can watch coverage live on the Golf Channel starting at 3pm EST.
In the other hemisphere
The European Tour kicks off 2017 with its first event, the BMW SA Open, held at Glendower Golf Club. Headlining the field is Rory McIlroy, who will try and pick up his hot play from the end of 2016. Last year’s event was won by one of the bright young international stars, Brandon Stone, who returns to defend his title and look for his 3rd career win at just 23-years-old.
Talking golf course architecture with David McLay Kidd
This week’s podcast guest was acclaimed golf course architect David McLay Kidd, whose designs include Bandon Dunes, Gamble Sands and Nanea Golf Club. Kidd discusses his current projects at Sand Valley and Rolling Hills, how he got into architecture, his career and future goals. Listen in on iTunes or our website.
Chicago’s Overlooked Gem
Take a tour of Flossmoor C.C., one of Chicago’s finest courses. Flossmoor was originally designed by H.J. Tweedie and served as host to the 1920 PGA Championship and 1923 U.S. Amateur. The course’s defining characteristic is its spectacular green complexes that force precise and accurate approach shots to score.
With the PGA Tour at the Sony, let’s never forget the Robert Allenby story from 2014.
The boyhood wonder
In honor of his Monday qualifier, head over to the NLU Pro Shop and check out the Tadd Fujikawa-inspired “Legends Never Die” hoodie.