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PGA Tour preview: Sony Open in Honolulu

Preview – PGA Tour – Sony Open – Waialae Country Club – Honolulu, Hawaii –

The Aloha Swing heads to Maui this week on the PGA Tour.

The Sony Open features the first full-field 144-player event of the 2015 calendar season at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.

Fresh off his runner-up effort last week losing in the playoff, Jimmy Walker rides into Oahu on a high note looking to defend his title. And, he’s one of the favorites as 14-to-1 odds to win it, according to Skybet.com.

This week’s layout is a complete 360-degree turn from the wide open layout at Kapalua. This course measures just over 7,000 yards and plays to a par-70. A flat layout, Waialae produces a mix of long hitters and accurate players atop the leader board thanks to tighter fairways.

Look for “Horses For Courses” to factor this week. Charles Howell III has a streak of 13 straight cuts made at this venue. He also has seven Top 5s in that run. Matt Kuchar enters with three straight Top 8 finishes in Maui.

Several international headliners are here including Aussie Jason Day, the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 8. Hideki Matsuyama is also competing. He and Day are coming off T-3 finishes in Maui, just a shot out of the playoff.

2014 recap:

  • Walker (19-under) edged Chris Kirk by a shot thanks to final round 63. Jerry Kelly was third at 15-under, while Harris English was solo fourth. CH3, Adam Scott and Kuchar logged Top 10s.

Golf Channel has television coverage all week.

FANTASY: Since experience on this course tends to pay off, take CH III. English carded a 62 on this layout in the past. Take Henley with his past here — he won in 2013 — and finished T-3 last week in Maui after leading through 18 holes. Consider Tim Clark, who was a runner-up in 2011 and 2013.

BETTING: According to Skybet.com, Day is the top pick at 12-to-1 odds. The Aussie threatened to win last week. He’s ready here. For the value price, play Clark at 33-1 and Sang Moon Bae at 40-1. Bae was in the mix in Maui before finishing T-6. He led the Sony last year after opening with 63.

Other Golf News:

  • The LPGA Tour opens its 2015 season at the Coates Golf Championship in Florida in two weeks. The tournament runs Jan. 26-31. The tour then heads to the Bahamas followed by Australia and Thailand.
  • The Champions Tour launches 2015 in Hawaii for the Mitsubishi Electric Championship. Bernhard Langer won the Charles Schwab Cup last season.
  • More than half of the champions at the Sony Open during the last 16 years competed in the previous Hyundai Tournament of Champions.