|SONY Open in Hawaii - January 11, 2010
SONY OPEN IN HAWAII
Waialae Country Club
Par: 35-35—70Yards: 7,044
Winner's FedExCup Points Share: 500
Purse: $5,500,000Winner: $990,000
2009 Champion: Zach Johnson (265, -15)
Coming Off Career Year, Johnson Returns to Honolulu to Defend Sony Open in Hawaii Title
The first full-field event of the 2010 PGA TOUR FedExCup Regular Season is this week in Honolulu where players head to Waialae Country Club for the Sony Open in Hawaii. In 2009, Zach Johnson took the lead at the 54-hole mark then shot a final-round 65 to hold off Adam Scott, who fired a Sunday 64, and David Toms to win the first of two 2009 titles. Johnson later added a victory at the Valero Texas Open, where he successfully defended his 2008 title.
Johnson has won in each of the last three years. His 2008 season was a disappointment by his standards, though, as he finished 131st in the FedExCup standings and only had three top-10 finishes. One of those victories, however, was his Valero Texas Open title. In 2009, Johnson bounced back in a big way, finishing sixth in the FedExCup and earning a personal-best $4,714,813.
Sony Open in Hawaii Notes
Zach Johnson is seeking to become just the fourth player to successfully defend a title at the Sony Open in Hawaii, joining Hubert Green (1978-79), Corey Pavin (1986-87) and Ernie Els (2003-04).
Two-time Sony Open in Hawaii champion Ernie Els continued to improve each day at the 2009 tournament. After opening with a 2-over 72, he bounced back with rounds of 69-68-67 to tie for 39th. Els has posted par-or-better scores in 22 of 24 rounds at the Sony Open in Hawaii—including 21 rounds in the 60s. His 2009 performance finish marked the first time he had finished outside of the top five in six starts at Waialae Country Club He won in 2003 and 2004, finished second in 2005, was third in 2001 and fifth in 2000.
Steve Stricker is seeking his first victory at the Sony Open in Hawaii, despite much success at the event. A year ago, Stricker tied for 23rd, one of seven top-25 finishes in 10 career starts at the event. He has three top-four finishes at the Sony Open in Hawaii, with a solo-third place effort in 1996 and tie-for-fourth finishes in 2007 and 2008. In 38 career rounds, Stricker has failed to produce a score of par or better just five times.
Nineteen-year-old and local favorite Tadd Fujikawa posted a 3-over 73 during the final round of the 2009 Sony Open in Hawaii to finish his ninth-career start on TOUR in a tie for 32nd. The then-18-year-old recorded the round of the week a year ago with an 8-under 62 during the third round. Fujikawa’s career-best finish in 12 starts on TOUR was a tie for 20th as an amateur at the 2007 Sony Open in Hawaii.
Another player to watch for this week is Jerry Kelly. He tied for 23rd in 2009 in what was his 12th career start at the Sony Open in Hawaii. It was the eighth top-25 finish of his career at the event. Kelly has bettered par in 31 of his last 38 rounds at Waialae Country Club.
In just 11 years, the Sony Open in Hawaii has emerged as a leader in charitable giving in the state. With a significant start of generating $256,000 for 43 charities in 1998, tournament charity proceeds now surpass the $1-million mark annually—benefiting more than 100 not-for-profit organizations.
Rory Sabbatini has two second-place finishes at this event, in 2006 and in 2008. A year ago, Sabbatini shot rounds of 68-70-70-65 to tie for 12th. The South African has reeled off 10 consecutive par-or-better rounds since his second-round, 1-over 71 in 2007. Sabbatini's final-round 65 in 2009 is his best 18-hole score at Waialae Country Club, and it helped him move from a tie for 41st when the day began to his final 12th-place showing.
E NOTES FROM THE PGA TOUR
Four new members will make their first career start on the PGA TOUR this week at the Sony Open in Hawaii — Blake Adams, Troy Merritt, Brian Stuard and Jerod Turner. Twelve other newcomers will make their first TOUR starts as members — Chris Baryla, Graham DeLaet, Martin Flores, Rickie Fowler, Billy Horschel, Derek Lamely, Garth Mulroy, Cameron Percy, Alex Prugh, Josh Teater, Cameron Tringale and Chris Wilson.
The field at this week’s Sony Open in Hawaii will feature 20 of the 31 players who won in 2009, including all four major champions.
Look for someone who competed in last week’s SBS Championship to win the Sony Open in Hawaii. Eight of the last 11 players to win at Waialae played the week before in the SBS Championship.
Jerry Kelly, the 2002 Sony Open in Hawaii champion, has an excellent record in the event with eight Top 25 finishes in 12 career starts. He has posted scores in the 60s in 31 of 44 rounds at Waialae.
Four schools produced the most TOUR players — Arizona State, Florida, Georgia Tech and Oklahoma State each have nine players on TOUR this year. UCLA rounds out the top five with eight former players competing on TOUR.
The season begins with nine players under the age of 25 led by Rory McIlroy who is 20. The others are Rickie Fowler (21), Jason Day (22), Cameron Tringale (22), Billy Horschel (23), Troy Merritt (24), Webb Simpson (24), Anthony Kim (24) and David Lutterus (24).
There are 53 players in their 20s currently on TOUR with 16 of them having earned victories already in their careers. Adam Scott leads the way with six victories while Sean O’Hair has three.
This year’s roster of players hail from 41 states (plus the District of Columbia) and 21 countries