Sony Open. A Walk in the Park for Walker.

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It was a walk in the park for Jimmy Walker as he won the Sony Open at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.

Walker's run continues

Jimmy Walker / Getty Images

Jimmy fired an amazing last round of -7 under par 63, to lift the trophy at the Sony Open on Hawaii with a -17 under par total. Added to that sweet success is the fact that although  it’s still only the middle of January, he is also No. 1 in the FedExCup standings and Ryder Cup standings.

Jimmy said it took him a while to get there, but he played some real cool golf;

“It took me a long time to do it, I felt very calm and controlled. That’s what you’ve got to feel and do when it’s time to win. It’s easy to say, hard to do, but today was awesome, really cool golf. I’ve always felt like I belonged, and you need affirmation every now and then. The other win was like, `Yeah, OK, I can do it.’ I did it, and I was supposed to be able to do it. Everybody told me I was supposed to do it, and I finally did it. And then it’s, `Well, are you going to be the guy that won that you never hear from again?’ It’s nice to get it done and do it again today.”

Chris Kirk finished in second place at -16 under par, his last round -4 under par 66 not good enough to win the trophy. He felt he had played well enough to win;

“I feel like I hit the ball well enough to win this week, but it doesn’t always work out that way.”

Jerry Kelly finished alone in third place, at -15 under par, with Harris English on his own in fourth at -14 under par.

Jerry finishing strongly with a -5 under par 65, but Harris was not so good again carding another round of -3 under par 67, to slip out of contention.

World number two Adam Scott completed his tournament in -10 under par, and is now taking a six-week break, to work on his game which was lacking a little something here in Hawaii;

“I was liking my position there, I was making today a lot of fun, but I didn’t play very well on the next nine. I just was in the rough too much, unfortunately. It’s just such a hard course to get it going around here. I’ll work on my game a lot, I think there’s plenty of work on after the last couple weeks.”

Sony Open. Chris Kirk is the King.

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Chris Kirk is the King at the end of the third round at the Sony Open at Waialae Country Club in  Honolulu.

Riding high

Chris Kirk / Getty Images

 Chris took control of the Sony Open on Saturday as he  fired a -5 under par third round  65 to take a one stroke lead going into the final day, with his -12 under par tournament total.

Chris spoke about how tight this competition is;

“When it’s so close like that, everybody is going to be making some birdies here and there, so I probably won’t look at leaderboards as much as I normally would. A lot of courses I think lend themselves to you need to know what your position is going into any given hole, but out here, I don’t think that’s really the case. They’re just so volatile with guys making birdies and bogeys. I’ll just probably try to keep my head down and make as many birdies as I can.”

Second place is being shared by Will Wilcox and Harris English, both at -11 under par. Will, said he does not know what to expect, but is delighted to be in the mix;

“I didn’t know what was going to happen this week, making the cut was a dream come true. Playing good on Saturday was a dream come true. Getting to have a decent shot tomorrow is ridiculous. I saw I was beating James Hahn by two or three. He was like 51st and I was in 13th or something, you’ve just got to play tight and make a couple of clutch putts, which I did today. I don’t know. We’ll see.”

Harris mentioned how tough it is, and he is happy to be in with a shot at  the title;

“It was just kind of `Grind it til you find it.’ this course is tough. It’s hard to hit the fairways, and you’ve just got to be a wizard around the greens, and that’s kind of how I approached today. I didn’t have my best golf, but I scraped it around at three under par and I’m still in this golf tournament.”

Next in line at -10 under par are Jerry Kelly and Jimmy Walker.

Robert Allenby made only five cuts in 24 tournaments last year and had to use an exemption from career money (top 25) to get his card. Robert is currently tied in sixth place, at -9 under par, with six other players. He said the turn around for him came with playing his local club with the old boy’s, who will not give him an inch;

“I’ve been playing the guys at Admiral’s Cove, all the 60-year-olds, and they make me putt out because they’re like waiting for me to miss. I keep shooting 7, 8, 9 under and stuff with them. They’ve put me in a good mental state for out here on tour.”

There are eleven players within three shots of the lead here at the Waialae Country Club, so the Sony Open title is still very much in the balance. Someone is going to have a very good round tomorrow.

 

Sony Open. Brian Blazes Trail,

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Brian Stuard blazes a trail at the top of the leaderboard at the Sony Open  at the wonderful Waialae Country Club course in Hawaii.

Brian Stuard / Getty Images

Brian  finished off his second round with an Eagle, using a hybrid 3-iron into 2 feet on the par-5 ninth hole for a -5 under par 65. Back to back 65’s have given Brian a -10 under par tournament total, a one shot lead going into the week-end.

Brian said he feels comfortable on the greens;

“I think it’s something to do with the greens, I feel comfortable on the greens. I feel like I read them pretty well and I’m able to make putts.”

Second place belongs to Aussie Marc Leishman and Japanese Hideto Tanihara, both players one shot adrift of the lead at -9 under par. Marc with a smooth second round -6 under par 64, and Hideto carded a -5 under par 65.

Marc also had an Eagle on the ninth hole, and said it has out him right into the mix;

 “They’re the sort of things that really turn an average round into a good one, or a good one into a great one. It was nice to shoot six under and get myself right in it.”

Harris English, at -8 under par for the tournament is alone in fourth position, while Jason Kokrak is one of the six players at -7 under par.

Jason admitted he had done little practice, but was pleased with how it is going

“I’m keeping the ball in play, keeping the ball in front of me, I’m pleased with where I’m at right now. I’m going to have to make a few more putts. I didn’t do a whole lot of practicing this offseason, so I’m just kind of playing my way into some good play this week.”

Keeping Jason company on -7 under par are, Adam Scott, Jimmy Walker, Chris Kirk, Sang-Moon Bae and Chris Stroud.

Surprisingly missing the cut is Jordan Spieth, he was on the verge of getting to -2-under par at the turn, until carelessly missing a four foot birdie putt. He followed that mistake with a tee shot out of bounds on the next hole, and never recovered.

Apart from all that Jordan said he putted well;

“The funny thing is, I putted better this week than last week.”

Sony Open. Sang-Moon Bae has 1st Round Lead

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Sang-Moon Bae carded a -7 under par 63 to take a one-shot lead in the opening round of the Sony Open in Hawaii at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.

 

Sang-Moon Bae / Getty Images

Sang-Moon Bae leads the way at the Sony Open in Hawaii with opening round of 63, giving him a one-shot lead over Chris Kirk. The pair were together all Thursday morning, playing in the same group and taking the top two spots on the leaderboard. Chris taking second spot alone with his -6 under par 64.

Chris admired Sang-Moon’s lightening start, but was happy to catch up on the back nine;

“He was off to a great start, at one point he was four under and I was still two over. It took some catching up for me on the back nine. But it’s always nice to see putts falling.”

Sang-Moon said he had played well the week before, but had trouble reading the greens, but practice makes perfect, he arrived here early and worked hard;

“I think I played well last week, but really tough greens, very hard to read. I couldn’t read any right-to-left putts, any putts,  so I missed a lot of puts last week. But this course is more shorter than last week, so easy read, and I can make good speed, too. I practiced a little bit and I had fun, go to beach, go swim, everything. I like it here.”

Sharing third place at -5 under par are Brian Stuard and Ryan Palmer, but the leaderboard is tightly packed so anything could happen. It is exciting to be able to watch it all unfold. The next group all at -4 under, seven of them, includes Retief Goosen and Big John Daly.

Big John, who has recovered from elbow surgery commented;

“The arm feels good, the greatest thing is, I can hit three-quarter shots again, I haven’t done that in six years. That was my bread and butter; that was my game. I need a little more practice. I’m rusty,”

There are then twelve players recording -3 under par.

The defending champion Russell Henley played Wednesday in the Pro-Am, but food poisoning stopped him in his tracks on the 11th hole. Two trips to the hospital for IV fluids and medicine helped Russell make  his opening round 12:20 p.m. tee time. His +3 over  par 73 opening round didn’t come close to the 63 he fired off in last year’s final round.

Russell said he was still not feeling good;

“I’m not operating at 100 percent, I’m feeling a lot better than yesterday, but I made two bad swings, two really bad holes. Other than that, I played a pretty decent round, a couple putts didn’t fall. I think I’ll be feeling good tomorrow and hopefully will play well.”

Would love to know what Sea Food Restaurant he was at, and I bet they are praying that he does not mention them.

Two Tournaments in Two Weeks in Hawaii; Seem Like Heaven to You ?

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Logo ImageDoes two tournaments in two weeks in Hawaii seem like heaven to you ? Well it apparently does not suit everyone.Twelve of the thirty players who teed it up at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions on the Plantation Course have opted to miss next weeks Sony Open at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, a short island hop away.

2012 SOIH winner Russell Henley

Russel Henley, last years winner / Stan Bedz PGA

Last years winner Russel Henley carded  26 birdies against only two bogeys during the tournament, the only real defense the Waialae Country Club has is the wind. If it doesn’t blow then low scores are the order of the day.

Weather conditions this year are predicted to be similar to last years event, sunshine periodically shrouded by passing clouds and the occasional rain shower are expected, as are manageable trade winds and seasonable highs right around the 80 degree mark.

Excuses are the usual, Jonas Blixt ho has missed the cut and finished T-54 in his two tries at Waialae Country Club commented;

 “It just doesn’t fit me. I just don’t hit enough fairways to compete there. I’m just not very good at it. Honestly, we want to play, if I could play every tournament, I would, but you just can’t play them all.”

This from Martin Laird;

“It doesn’t set up well for me, if you don’t hit right-to-left you’re at a disadvantage. My high fade is not the ideal shot there.”

Apart from Jonas and MartinDustin Johnson has also pulled the plug. along with nine others who have chosen to play the Hyundai, but not the Sony. The missing in action list is pretty impressive;

Brandt Snedeker, Bill Haas, Webb Simpson, Gary Woodland, Ryan Moore, John Merrick, Kevin Streelman, Patrick Reed, and Billy Horschel.

Seems like John Merrick just likes to play on the mainland;

“I just really love the West Coast events, I’ll play Humana (the week after the Sony), San Diego, Phoenix, Pebble Beach, and LA. You just have to pick your spots.”

Ryan Moore also prefers to go home;

 “For me, it’s 100 percent a scheduling matter.”

Billy Horschel has a corporate commitment to CVS;

 “Six months ago we gave them some days for an outing at TPC Sawgrass for a military event, and we came up with next Friday.”

Patrick Reed just feels knackered;

“I feel like we’ve walked over Mount Everest this week, it’s just very hilly. Besides, the Humana (and Palm Springs) area is one of our favorite places, I’ve had success at Torrey and I want to be well-rested going into those.”

So, who is going to play the Sony Open at the Waialae Country Club in lovely Honolulu, take a look at this bunch;

Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Jason Dufner, and Jordan Spieth, these guys alone are worth the entrance money.

To tell you the truth I could easily live in Hawaii, visited there four times and loved every minute.

Sony Open, Rookies Rule The Roost, Tied at the Top

 

Russell Henley of the U.S. (L) practices his putt swing as Scott Langley waits to putt on the 18th green during the third round of the Sony Open golf tournament in Honolulu, Hawaii January 12, 2013. REUTERS/Hugh Gentry

 Russell Henley and Scott Langley / Hugh Gentry Reuters

The two first year rookies, Russell Henley and Scott Langley are tied at the top of the leaderboard of the Sony Open at the Waialae Country Club, Honolulu, at the conclusion of the third round on Saturday. They share the lead at -17 under par, a three shot lead over Tim Clark who is alone in third place, at -14 under par.

Russell  fired a three-under-par 67 third round, while Scott carded a 65, to level the scores for the tournament for these two friends.

Apart from leading the tournament the pair now share the course lowest 54 hole record, at 193. Russell is still amazed at the experience he and Scott are enjoying;

“A month ago I was at orientation, and Scott just done with Q-School, and I gave him a ride to the airport. We had lunch and I was telling him how awesome it was I was on the PGA Tour. This is kind like a dream, it’s weird. It’s like I’m not awake, very weird. Whatever happens tomorrow, I’m going to learn from it. I’ve played great golf and I feel like I can compete out here. Win this tournament or not, it’s already been a very successful week.”

Scott was calculating the odds on him winning, and is happy the pair will together again tomorrow for the final round;

” The Vegas odds on me winning were probably not very good, I hope somebody bet on me and I make him a lot of money. I never imagined that, it’s certainly odd, but you know, if there was a guy in the field that I would love to do it with, it would be Russell because we play pretty similar games, and we’re kind of the same guy on the course. We play pretty quickly and pretty easy going, kind of feel our way around, not too technical. So there are a lot of guys that I enjoy playing with, but Russell is definitely one of them.”

A victory for either player on Sunday would emulate the achievement of fellow American Garrett Willis, who was the most recent rookie to win on his debut as a PGA Tour member, at the 2001 Tucson Open.

Tim Clark is happy with his golfing progress since coming back from injury, he would love to win this tournament, but is sure neither of the rookies will be worried about leading;

“I’m sure they won’t be too intimidated, that’s going to be fun to see them play. There’s all these young guys coming out these days, and they’re ready to go right from the start. So it’s going to be a fun battle.”

There are two players tied in fourth place at -13 under par, Scott Gardiner and Charles Howell 111, or Chucky three sticks, as he is known as on the Tour. At four shots back these guys must still feel they are in with a shout.

At -12 under par are a host of players, most notably for us in New Zealand, one of them is Danny Lee. It is good to see the Kiwi contesting on the final day. But as I said yesterday, if  Russell and Scott are paired together for the last round, one of them will be the winner.

Sony Open, Russell Henley Hijacks the Lead

Russell Henley / Hugh Gentry/Reuters

Russell Henley hijacked the second round lead in the Sony Open in Hawaii, from his friend and first round leader Scott Langley, with another round of -7 under par 63. The two rookies continue to defy all the odds and dominate the leaderboard between them. Russell, who is just  two days into his PGA Tour career is already in the record books, breaking the 36-hole tournament scoring record by two shots, at -14 under par and a total of 126, the previous 36-hole record at the Sony Open was 128, shared by five players, most recently John Cook in 2002.

Russell said it all seems a bit unreal;

” It’s pretty surreal.”

The two Scotts, Langley and Piercy are now tied two shots behind on -12 under par, Scott Langley followed his opening round 62, with a second round of 66, and Scott Piercy had another round of 64, both players total 128.

Scott Langley admitted it was hard to match his amazing first round 62;

“It’s never easy to back up a really good round, I kind of got off to a little slower start, but it was certainly nice to finish the way I did and kind of get back in it with Russ. He played so well, and I was just trying to keep pace as much as I can. To finish that way was really good.”

Scott Piercy had to admit he knew very little about the two new rookies;

” It’s Russell something and Langley?  I think Russell won when he was in college, right? Hey, they’re playing well. I think I played in five final groups as a rookie and didn’t come through. There’s a learning curve, but maybe their curve is quicker than mine.”

Matt Kuchar is in fourth place alone on -11 under par, with his second round score of -7 under par, 63. Matt was real happy with the conditions here at the Waialae Country Club in  Honolulu, coming from last weeks windy weather in Maui;

” Coming from last week, it feels really easy out there, this course, is not as simple as it seems, it’s one of the tougher courses on tour. If you’re not playing well, you’re going to make some bogeys. I understand the wind is supposed to really die down over the weekend, so I certainly expect low scoring. The course is in great shape, greens are beautiful, so there’s going to be a lot more birdies and your foot has definitely got to be down on the pedal.”

One sad note today, Dustin Johnson who won last week at Kapalua, withdrew after nine holes today, suffering from the flu. Dustin will now not  get a chance to match Ernie Els as the only players to sweep the two Hawaii events.

He said of his malaise;

” I feel like I’m coming down with whatever my caddie’s got, just not feeling well. Stomach hurts, headache, tired.”

I think that as long as Scott and Russell are paired together one of them will win this tournament  they are helping each other and are not too bothered about the rest of the field. But if they are split up for the last round, competing against a seasoned Tour professional, then the going will get a little tougher coming down the stretch on Sunday.