The PGA Tour remains in Hawaii for the second straight week, as Queensland's Cameron Smith prepares to defend the Sony Open at Waialae Country Club.
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Cameron Smith captured his first individual PGA Tour title here last year, reaching 11-under-par 269 before defeating American Brendan Steele in extra holes.
COURSE: Waialae Country Club, located in East Honolulu, was founded in 1927 and designed by the great Seth Raynor. The course, which will play to 6,441 metres (par-70) this week, is nestled between the Koolau mountain range and the Pacific Ocean. Waialae has hosted this event since its inception in 1965 and the layout's nines are reversed for tournament play.
PLAYERS TO WATCH …
Defending champ Cameron Smith rebounded superbly here last year – after bogeying his opening hole and tripling the next – to capture his first individual PGA Tour title.
The 27-year-old has an excellent record at Waialae, too, finishing T22, T18 and T27 in the years prior to his victory.
Smith returns in solid form, posting six consecutive top-25s, including his record-breaking runner-up finish at Augusta last November. He will be looking to join Hubert Green (1978/79), Corey Pavin (1986/87), Ernie Els (2003/04) and Jimmy Walker (2014/15) in becoming back-to-back champions.
RIGHT: Smith won his first individual title on the PGA Tour at Waialae last year. PHOTO: Harry How/Getty Images.
South Korean Sungjae Im is one of the world’s purest ball strikers and arrives at Waialae in terrific form, following his share of fifth place at Kapalua last week.
The World No.18 – who shared Masters runner-up honours with Smith last year – finished T21 here last year and was T16 in 2019 from his only two appearances, suggesting he could very easily find himself in contention over the weekend.
Im is hitting plenty of greens in regulation this season and is one of the best players off the tee. If he can tidy up his work on and around the greens this week, look out.
72-HOLE RECORD: Justin Thomas shot 27-under-par 253 in 2017 to set a PGA Tour scoring record, defeating Justin Rose by seven shots. American John Huston won by the same margin when he reached 28-under-par 260 to defeat Tom Watson in 1998.
PAST AUSSIE WINNERS: Cameron Smith (2020), Brett Ogle (1994) and Bruce Crampton (1969).
AUSTRALIANS IN THE FIELD: Aaron Baddeley, Cameron Davis, Matt Jones, Marc Leishman, Adam Scott and Cameron Smith.
Round 1: Friday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 11am – 2:30pm)
Round 2: Saturday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 11am – 2:30pm)
Round 3: Sunday (Fox Sports 505 LIVE 11am – 2:30pm)
Round 4: Monday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 10am – 2pm)
*AEDT, check local guides