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Adam Scott leading ranked player at Sony Open

Scott has played well at the Sony Open previously (Photo: Bruce Young)
The first full field PGA Tour event of 2016 begins Thursday at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu where the man who has won this event in each of the last two years, Jimmy Walker, will start as the favourite.

Walker gave an indication that his game was getting back on track after an indifferent finish to his 2015 year with a 10th place finish at last week’s Hyundai Tournament of Champions, indicating that his love affair with Hawaii and this event in particular might just continue this week.

Adam Scott is the highest world ranked player in this week's field and late in 2015 he was playing well enough for him to be a factor early in 2016.

Scott's strong finish for second at the Australian Open was followed by a solid if unspectacular week at the Hero World Challenge and although he has played this event just three times in the last seven years he does own a couple of very good finishes including when runner-up to Zach Johnson in 2009.

Scott is playing early in the season this year after missing the first three months last year through family reasons but he is clearly determined to get a fast start and head back up the world ranking from his current 11th position.

Zach Johnson is the next highest world ranked player after Scott and as a previous winner and a player in reasonable form of late he deserves consideration as a potential winner.

Kevin Kisner is in the middle of a great run of form of late having finished 9th last week following a win and runner-up finishes in earlier starts. Kisner, however, has a very poor record at this venue for some reason with three missed cuts and a best of 84th in his only four starts.   

Brandt Snedeker is playing the Sony Open for the first time in seven years but seems to have recovered from a bizarre week at the Australian PGA Championship with a victory at the Franklin Templeton Shootout and a 3rd place finish at Kapaulua last week. Snedeker's lack of a good record here, even when he has played, is a concern however.

Matt Kuchar has four consecutive top tens in this event in his last four visits and while not at the peak of his game in recent starts he might have benefited from the recent break.

Justin Thomas finished 6th in his only start in this event last year. He is destined to become one of the stars of the PGA Tour having won already in his brief career.

Harris English does enjoy a great record at the Sony Open having produced three top tens in four starts. English has made all but one of his last sixteen cuts, admittedly without seriously contending, but back on a golf course he clearly enjoys he could do well.

There is little doubting that Patton Kizzire will be one of the rookie stars on the PGA Tour in 2016 after such a brilliant season on the Web.Com Tour in 2015. He has already recorded a 4th and runner up finish in two events on the wrap around season and although it is his first time at the Sony Open he is such a brilliant player he could do very well.

As is so often the case there is a strong representation of Australians in the Sony field. Scott is perhaps the favourite amongst them but Marc Leishman, Steven Bowditch, John Senden, Cameron Smith, Robert Allenby and Stuart Appleby could also do well.

Leishman won the Nedbank Challenge late in 2015 after a roller coaster but successful year overall. Leishman has typically played this event well with two top tens in recent starts.

Bowditch bounced back to form last week after a poor finish to 2015 but his record at the Sony Open is ordinary with a best of 34th in five starts.

Cameron Smith makes his first appearance in the event as a rookie on the PGA Tour. Being a Queenslander Hawaiian conditions should not bother him and he did go very close to winning the Australian PGA Championship at his last start five weeks ago. 

 

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