The Hawaiian swing of the 2018/19 PGA Tour continues this week as the Sony Open gets underway on Thursday, with defending champion Patton Kizzire looking to become the sixth player to win the tournament twice.
Since the event’s modern-day inception as the Hawaiian Open in November 1965, only five players have managed to lift the trophy on two occasions – Hubert Green (1978, 1979), Corey Pavin (1986, 1987), Lanny Wadkins (1988, 1991), Ernie Els (2003, 2004) and Jimmy Walker (2014, 2015).
History has shown it is difficult to triumph at Waialae Country Club more than once, but defending champion Kizzire loves to play in Hawaii and looks fantastic value to add his name to the coveted list.
Kizzire – Winner @ 39/1
Kizzire landed his second PGA Tour title at last year’s event when defeating fellow American James Hahn in a play-off after both players finished the tournament on -17 – a massive 10 shots behind Justin Thomas’ competition record.
The 32-year-old struggled to kick on from that win as he slipped from 54th in the world rankings to 98th by the end of 2018, but he started 2019 with a tie for eighth at the Sentry Tournament of Champions last week and that will have boosted his confidence.
With the TOC being played in Hawaii, it shows just how much Kizzire enjoys playing in these conditions and a return to a venue he triumphed at 12 months ago could provide the catalyst needed ahead of an important season.
Thomas – Top-Five Finish @ 7/5
Thomas won the Sony Open in 2017 and broke every record he could during that triumph, with the American setting the 18-hole, 36-hole, 54-hole and tournament record in what was a sensational performance.
Now sitting fourth in the world rankings, the 25-year-old has landed a further five PGA Tour titles since that success, including a maiden major at the PGA Championship, and he is currently one of the best players around.
The Kentucky-born star, who was top points-scorer for the USA in their 2018 Ryder Cup defeat at Le Golf National, carded a brilliant eight-under-par 65 on Sunday in the final round of the TOC last to finish third and can make a quick start at Waialae CC on Thursday.
A star-studded field will be teeing it up in Hawaii this week, with Bryson DeChambeau, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, Hideki Matsuyama, Paul Casey, Gary Woodland and Marc Leishman some of the big names taking part.
Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson, Ian Poulter, Matt Kuchar and Emiliano Grillo are also vying for the title.
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