Excitement levels among Canadian golf fans was predictably high halfway through last week’s Sony Open In Hawaii. B.C.’s Nick Taylor held a two-stroke lead at that point, but, alas, there was still two more rounds to be played.
Taylor did not get the win, that went to American Kevin Na who picked up his 5th PGA TOUR victory, but the trio of Canadians who made the cut had a positive week.
With the golf course at Waialae Country Club yielding to low scoring, Nick’s 68 and 67 on the weekend did not keep pace and he eventually dropped to a share of 11th place. His -17 total was four back of Na.
Mackenzie Hughes capped his stay in Hawaii with a -15 total and a tie for 19th. That was a boost over his t-41 (last place) showing at the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
Weir Is Ready For More
And lastly, the surprise of the week for many golf fans came from 50 year-old Mike Weir who recorded a notable T-47 placing at -10 total. Weir had not made the cut at the Sony Open in Hawaii since 1998. He was playing on a Sponsor’s Exemption and was using the outing largely as preparation for this week’s start to the the PGA TOUR Champions circuit being played in the islands at Hualalai.
The eight-time PGA TOUR winner shared some thoughts post-round.
“I really enjoyed my week this week,” remarked the 2003 Masters Champion. “Did lots of really good things. My putting was a little bit of a weak link this week but I played nicely and kind of sharpened that up for next week, short game a little bit.”
Instead of beating his head against the world’s best players, Weir now transitions into play with the older set of pros and he feels ready to make the transition.
“It’s different,” said the Canadian icon of play between the two tours. “Only three rounds, and the guys shoot low numbers, so you’ve got to have the scoring mentality to get off to a fast start. You know, I know the course. I’ve been coming over to Kona for probably the last dozen years and just playing with a couple of friends over there. So I know the course pretty well. So you’re going to have to shoot some low ones.”
He added, “Very excited to get started. It’s a thin schedule early in the year, so it’s nice to get one early and kind of pace yourself for the when the late spring is and summer comes around when a lot of the big tournaments happen.”
“My game is heading the right direction, very pleased with where my game is at. Like I said, just sharpen up the short game and it will be even a little better.”
The Week Ahead
Fellow Canadian Stephen Ames joins Weir in the field at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai.
The PGA TOUR is in the California desert this week for the American Express. Canadians in the field include Adam Hadwin, Nick Taylor, Michael Gligic, Roger Sloan, and David Hearn.
On the LPGA Tour, Brooke Henderson will be the only Canadian in the field at the winners-only Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions in Florida.