Sony Open, Kevin Na back to defend his title

The Aloha Swing concludes with the Sony Open in Hawaii, where Kevin Na returns to defend his 2021 title. Twenty-four players who competed at the Sentry Tournament of Champions will make the trip from Kapalua to Honolulu. 

Kevin Na, Sony Open

Bryson DeChambeau makes his return to Waialae after a T10 in 2019, marking the first time DeChambeau will take on the short Hawaiian club since his long-drive transformation. World No. 1-ranked amateur Keita Nakajima is in the field on a sponsor’s exemption. The Japan native finished T28 at the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP last fall. Other exemptions include Chan Kim, Takumi Kanaya and Rikuya Hoshino, all ranked inside the top five on the Japan Golf Tour Order of Merit. Several 2020-21 Korn Ferry Tour graduates will make their first start of the 2022 calendar year, led by cumulative Points leader Stephan Jaeger. Returning Sony Open winners of late include Patton Kizzire (2018), Matt Kuchar (2019) and Cameron Smith (2020). 1996 Sony Open winner Jim Furyk will tee it up on the PGA TOUR for the first time since the 2021 RBC Heritage. Furyk won three times on PGA TOUR Champions last season. Winner receives 500 FedExCup points.

Waialae Country Club, par 70, 7,044 yards. The Seth Raynor design is one of the TOUR’s longest-tenured venues, having hosted the Sony Open since 1965. The coastal gem takes inspiration from some of the most iconic golf designs on the planet. The 24 players making the trip from Kapalua will find a stark contrast to that course, as Waialae is flatter and narrower. Wind will likely be a factor, but the average winning score across the last 10 tournament iterations is approximately 19-under.   

Despite nearly withdrawing on Wednesday due to a rib injury, Kevin Na notched his fifth career PGA TOUR win at the 2021 Sony Open in Hawaii. Na shot a Saturday 61 – the low round of the tournament – to earn a spot in Sunday’s final group alongside Brendan Steele. As Steele played his final nine holes in 2-over, Na kicked into gear, playing his final six holes in 4-under, including a birdie on the par-5 finisher. Na, whose win in Hawaii marked four straight TOUR seasons with a trophy, topped Chris Kirk and Joaquin Niemann by one shot. In his final start on a major medical extension after stepping away from the TOUR in May 2019, Kirk got up-and-down for birdie on his final hole to satisfy the requirements of the extension. Webb Simpson, Marc Leishman and Steele finished a shot further back at 19-under and tied for fourth.