The PGA Tour continues on this week as it visits Waialae Country Club for the 2023 Sony Open in Hawaii. The Seth Raynor design will play as a par 70, 7,044 yard layout this week. Sony will be serving as the sponsor for this event for the 25th time this year. Last year’s edition was won by Hideki Matsuyama, who came back to defeat Russell Henley in a playoff after trailing by 5 strokes with 9 holes to play.
Player to Fade:
The new season has gotten off to a rough start for Michael Gligic, as he has made the cut just once across 7 starts. There are few bright spots in Gligic’s game as a whole right now, as he is ranked 156th in Strokes Gained: Total, losing -.775 strokes per round to the field. And his track record at Waialae Country Club is even worse, missing the cut in all 3 previous starts and never even shooting a round under par here. Gligic will not stand a chance against a very stout Sony Open in Hawaii field and will whole-heartedly miss the cut.
Robby Shelton has gotten off to a solid start this season, with 1 top 10 and 4 top 25 finishes in 7 starts. Shelton may not be considered one of the elite ball strikers on tour, but he certainly holds his own, ranking inside the top 40 in both Strokes Gained: Tee-To-Green and Approach The Green. Shelton has had mixed success at Waialae Country Club, missing the cut here in 2020 and finishing T-25 last season. Shelton is not going to go out there and win this tournament, but his consistent play this season will continue as he brings home another top 25 finish.
Last winning on the PGA Tour in 2019, Corey Conners has started off consistently this season, with 3 top 25 finishes in 4 starts. Conners is one of the better ball strikers on tour, as he finished last season ranked 16th in Strokes Gained: Approach The Green and 2nd in Greens In Regulation Percentage. Waialae Country Club is a course that suits ball strikers well, and Conners is no exception to that rule, earning 1 top 10 and 3 top 12’s here in 4 career starts. Conners is almost certainly a threat to win anytime he tees it up, but a top 10 finish is certainly within his grasp this week.
A winner on tour earlier this season at the Shriners Children’s Open, Tom Kim is starting the season strong, with 1 win, 2 top 10’s, and 4 top 25’s in 4 starts. One of the best all-around players across the board right now, Kim has few holes in his game, ranking inside the top 10 in Strokes Gained: Approach The Green and Tee-To-Green, as well as 6th in both Driving Accuracy Percentage and Greens In Regulation Percentage, as he is hitting just under 73% of the fairways and just over 76% of the greens on tour. Kim is making his debut at Waialae Country Club this week, but after a T-5 finish last week at the Sentry, he is setting the bar high for himself for the second half of the Hawaii swing. All of this adds up to a victory for Tom Kim this week at the Sony Open in Hawaii!