Can Walker Win Again at Waialae?

Jimmy Walker Defends at the Sony Open in Hawaii
Jimmy Walker Defends at the Sony Open in Hawaii
Jimmy Walker defends at the Sony Open in Hawaii

He came oh so close Monday night.  A messy looking playoff loss left Jimmy Walker holding a nice sized cheque but no trophy at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.  That honour was left for Patrick Reed, who earned his 4th top prize in his last 35 starts on the PGA TOUR.

Both players now move from Kapalua to Honolulu for the playing of the first full field event on the 2015 calendar, the Sony Open in Hawaii.

It was here on the Seth Raynor designed Waialae Country Club where Jimmy Walker prevailed last year.

In the process of shooting 17 under par Walker served up a whopping 319.5 yard to per drive average.

His opening scores of 66,67,and 67 put him in position for a high finish but it was his closing 63, including birdies on four of the last five holes, that allowed him to slip past 54-hole leader Chris Kirk by just a stroke.

Coming off the playoff loss on Walker looks to be in fine form to attempt a title defence in Honolulu.  The last player to repeat at Waialae Country Club was Ernie Els in 2003-04.

There six players from the current top 25 of the World Rankings in the field this week.  That includes No.6 Jason Day who is coming in red hot after a closing 62 (-11) at Kapalua. He tied for 3rd at -20, just one shot out of the playoff.  The group tied for third also included Russell Henley, the 2012 winner of the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Watch for Day and Russell Henley to be in contention at this week at Waialae.

Canadian Contingent

There are five Canadians in the Sony Open in Hawaii field this week.

Initially the number was just four with Graham DeLaet, Nick Taylor, David Hearn, and Adam Hadwin exempt into the field.  That grew when Roger Sloan, originally the 4th alternate, shot 66 in the Monday qualifier to advance into the tournament.

Hadwin is coming off being named the 2014 Canadian Male Professional Player of the Year by the members of the Golf Journalists Association of Canada.  He will address the media in a teleconference on Wednesday.

Taylor tied for 29th at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions where he was the only Canadian in the elite field of winners.