At last year’s Sony Open Hideki Matsuyama found himself five shots back of Russell Henley with just nine holes to play.
Matsuyama, the 2021 Masters champion, made a final run on that back nine at venerable Waialae Country Club and topped it off with one of the best shots of the year — a three-wood from 276 yards out at the 18th that pulled up just two feet from the hole. That final eagle tied Matsuyama with Henley at 23-under. Matsuyama then beat Henley in a playoff.
The Japanese star shot back-to-back 63s on the weekend to win for the eighth time on the PGA Tour.
Last week’s Tournament of Champions saw Jon Rahm storm from nine shots back over the final 17 holes to beat Collin Morikawa so this week’s 25th playing of the Sony may or may not have that sort of drama but it did last year with Matsuyama’s final run to the championship.
Hideki heads this week’s field that includes Tom Kim and Jordan Spieth making the short trip from Kapalua after their play at the Tournament of Champions last week.
Tom Hoge, who finished tied for third last week at Kapalua, is also in the field and logged some serious flight miles this week. Hoge flew to Los Angeles for the TCU-Georgia game in the NCAA national championship. No doubt it was a long flight back to Hawaii after Hoge watched his Horned Frogs get slaughtered by Georgia.
One good thing for Hoge to consider — 17 of the last 24 events at Waialae have been won by players who played the week before in the Tournament of Champions.
Television Broadcast Times:
Thursday-Friday: ESPN-Plus: Noon-7 p.m. (EST); Golf Channel: 7-10:30 p.m. (EST).
Saturday-Sunday: ESPN-Plus: 1-4 p.m. (EST); NBC: 4 -6 p.m. (EST); Golf Channel: 6-8 p.m. (EST)