Emergency 9: Sony Open in Hawaii

Via PGATOUR Radio, since 2003, Waialae CC has accounted for 33 rounds of 62 or better.

That’s good for T-1 on TOUR during that time frame (Sedgefield).

The first round leader shot 61 and is ahead by one.

Emergency 9

Here are nine tidbits from the opening round of the Sony Open in Hawaii that gamers can use tomorrow, this weekend or down the road. Waialae Country Club in Honolulu plays 7,044 yards to Par-70 and has hosted this event since 1965.

Canadian Bakin’

The British Columbian posted 61, his best score as a pro, as he circled seven birdies and one big bird to lead on nine-under-par. His round during the afternoon wave was a dream as he painted the course tee-to-green (Strokes-Gained: third) and made everything in sight. Waialae is NEVER this friendly to first-timers but after rolling in 164 feet of putts, there can be exceptions to rules. This is his 10th TOUR event as a pro. Stay tuned.

First Things First

Andrew Putnam lit the candle in the morning wave by posting 62 and leading by four shots before Svensson went on TILT. The Barracuda champ from last summer made birdie on half of the holes with just one square on the card. I thought Svensson was great on the greens but Putnam has requested me to “hold his beer”. He led the field in Strokes-Gained: Putting and rolled in 174 feet of putts. And he’s not leading! This is his second round in the red in seven tries at Waialae. I’ll wager you that neither guy makes 75 feet of putts in Round 2!

Hangin’ 10

These were the top-10 selected golfers in the PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf game presented by SERVPRO. If you’re wondering why you’re not doing well, here’s why:

Rank Player Position % Ownership
1 Gary Woodland T89 61.18
2 Justin Thomas T17 59.93
3 Marc Leishman T17 53.10
4 Bryson DeChambeau T52 43.09
5 Charles Howell III T52 33.91
6 Cameron Champ T52 29.67
7 Jordan Spieth T127 26.24
8 Matt Kuchar 3rd 24.12
9 Cameron Smith T7 18.80
10 Kevin Tway T29 17.44


The late-early draw looks to have the advantage so if you need to readjust, please do so. I’d expect a bounce from Spieth today so if he’s in your lineup, I’d ride out the storm. I would also expect the same from Woodland. Thankfully the bench can help if these two don’t turn it around!

Renaissance Man

Matt Kuchar showed up for the new season with a newly fitted golf ball in his bag and the changes have been noticeable. He picked up his first win since 2014 at Mayakoba and his back at it again this week as he opened with 63. A bogey-free card saw him circle seven birdies and post his best round here since…..er, last time he was here in 2016 when he carded 62 in Round 3. Another top-10 payday would make it five in his last six on Oahu.

Defending Champion

Patton Kizzire is now 22-under in his last seven rounds at Waialae as his bogey-free 67 was a solid beginning to his defense. He scrambled all four times he missed GIR in a drama-free round. He was inside the top seven in proximity and distance of putts made in his win and would like to replicate that again this week.

The “other” Champ

Cameron Champ has been turning heads so I’ll keep an eye on him for you. Waialae usually doesn’t cater to youth as there are just enough left-to-rights and right-to-lefts that take some nous to play. Bombing it is great but it has to stay on the property! He hit only five of 14 fairways but scrambled to scratch out three birdies against one bogey (69, T52).

Jordan Rules

One round surely doesn’t make a season but investors in every format are keeping their eyes on the newly-married Spieth. In his fourth visit to Waialae he posted his worst round by two shots (73) and sits T127. He was 30-under in his last eight rounds with all eight posting in the red. You get ONE GUESS ONLY for what the issue was in Round 1. That’s a trick question! There were MANY things bothering him but yes, the putter was the main culprit (No. 136 Strokes-Gained).

Land of the Rising Sun

The Japanese Professional Golf Tour is well represented in the top 10 after Round 1. Sponsor’s invites to Shugo Imahira (65, T4) and Rikuya Hoshino (66, T7). I told you about Imahira in The Confidence Factor and you’ll need to keep an eye on him as he hovers around OWGR No. 50. That’s the magic number to get into all the big boy events. Another big finish this week will be another positive step in that direction.

Study Hall

For the second week in a row there was an opening-round ace! Thursday saw Kelly Kraft knock in a seven-iron on No. 7 from 173 yards. He’s T29. … Kevin Na was a late, pre-tournament scratch again this week as his pinky finger failed a late fitness test. … With firm greens and just enough of a breeze, only five players had blemish-free scorecards. Joining Svensson, Kuchar and Kizzire were the red-hot Abraham Ancer (68) and veteran Stewart Cink (68). … The early wave played 70.22 while the afternoon wave checked in at 69.06. … The scoring average for Round 1 was 69.639.

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