Fantasy golf power rankings: 2018 Sony Open in Hawaii

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Fantasy golf power rankings: 2018 Sony Open in Hawaii

PGA Tour

Fantasy golf power rankings: 2018 Sony Open in Hawaii

The PGA Tour heads from Kapalua to Honolulu for this week’s Sony Open in Hawaii.

Defending champion Justin Thomas, who shot 59 en route to winning a year ago at Waialae Country Club, highlights this year’s field, which also includes Jordan Spieth, Kevin Kisner and Marc Leishman.

Waialae Country Club is a par 70 that tips out at only 7,044 yards. While not as generous as Kapalua’s Plantation Course, which ranked as the easiest course on Tour last season and just played host to a 24-under performance by Dustin Johnson on Sunday, Waialae should still yield plenty of birdies. It ranked as the eighth easiest on Tour a season ago, and the par-5 ninth hole was the single easiest hole on Tour last season, playing an average of 0.786 strokes under par.

In other words, expect lots of birdies again this week. Driving accuracy isn’t as crucial this week as others, but rather hitting greens and making par-breakers will be musts. Last year, the top 4 finishers ranked in the top 4 in strokes gained: tee to green.

Here are my top 20 fantasy-golf options for this week’s Sony Open:

1. Jordan Spieth: Last year, Spieth called his missed cut at the 2014 Sony Open a “fluke.” Maybe he was right. Spieth was solo third a year ago at Waialae with four sub-68 rounds. He enters this year’s edition riding a streak of seven straight top-9s. Leads Tour in GIR percentage and sixth in SGTTG.

2. Justin Thomas: Yes, he is the defending champion. Yes, he shot 59 here last year. But Thomas struggled at Kapalua, tying for 22nd, and ranks 109th on Tour in SGTTG. With that said, Waialae is a course that fits Thomas’ game, especially off the tee, and Thomas is fifth on Tour in par breakers.

3. Brian Harman: One of the hottest players on Tour right now with four straight top-10s, including a third at Kapalua. Only one MC in six Sony starts with three straight top-20s here.

4. Marc Leishman: Has made five straight cuts at the Sony, including a T-9 in 2013, solo fifth in 2014 and T-20 last year. His T-7 finish at Kapalua was his fifth top-7 finish in his last seven worldwide starts. Ranks T-7 on Tour in par breakers.

5. Webb Simpson: Before his WD at RSM (personal reasons), he posted back-to-back top-20s to start the new season. And he has three straight T-13 finishes at Waialae, where he is perfect making the cut in eight attempts.

6. Zach Johnson: Past winner here (2009) and was T-6 last year at Waialae. Ranks in the top 25 on Tour in both SGTTG and SGP. Posted top-25s in all three fall starts, including a T-8 at RSM.

7. Tony Finau: Has improved every year at Sony, including tying for 20th last season. Was strong in the fall, finishing runner-up at Safeway and not finishing worse than T-26 in any of his other three starts. Ranks second on Tour in SGTTG.

8. Gary Woodland: In his last three trips to Waialae, he has finishes of T-6, T-13 and T-3. Has missed just one cut since the Masters. So far this season, is putter has been good to him (16th in SGP) and he ranks 16th in GIR percentage.

9. Kevin Kisner: Not surprising is his No. 4 ranking in SGP, but his No. 133 rank in SGTTG is alarming. Still, he’s gone T-5 and T-4 at Waialae in the last two seasons, and looked really good last fall at Sea Island, where he was T-4.

10. Charles Howell III: Course horse at Waialae has a stellar recent record here: T-8 (last year), T-13, T-26, T-8, T-3, T-2. Missed the cut his last time out at Sea Island, but was T-4 in Mexico to go along with two other top-20s last fall.

Cameron Smith

Cameron Smith (Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports)

11. Cameron Smith: His T-17 finish at Kapalua was his worst finish in six worldwide starts. During that span, he has a win and three other top-5s. Ranks T-7 on Tour in par breakers and T-8 in GIR percentage. Was T-27 last year at Sony.

12. Chez Reavie: Tied for eighth last year at Waialae and has seven top-25s in his last eight Tour starts. (Talk about consistency!) Ranks a sneaky 21st on Tour in SGTTG.

13. Russell Henley: Won the Sony in 2013 in his pro debut and has two top-17s since, including a T-13 last year. Hasn’t putted well this season, which is very surprising, though it’s a small sample size (just three events). He should be much better on the greens this week.

14. Si Woo Kim: Was fourth at the Sony Open two years ago and is coming off a 10th-place finish at Kapalua. Also was third in Mexico last fall. Ranks 23rd in SGTTG.

15. Daniel Berger: Tied for 45th here last year after posting finishes of T-42 and T-13 in his first two cracks at Waialae. Has gotten better each week this season – T-45, T-24, T-14 and then a T-11 at Kapalua. Statistically, he hasn’t been as good as he was a year ago, especially in the ballstriking categories.

16. Patton Kizzire: Missed the cut in his Sony debut in 2016, but is enjoying a nice season – a win and three other top-15s. Ranks in the top 40 in par breakers, GIR and SGP.

17. Luke List: Missed the first two cuts of his Sony Open career before tying for 13th last year at Waialae. Played five times in the fall with three top-20s, including a T-5 in South Korea. Turned a corner last season, making it to the BMW Championship.

18. J.J. Spaun: He missed the cut last year at Sony, but his stats show that he could play well this year at Waialae – 12th in SGTTG, 28th in GIR, T-27 in par breakers. Also his current form is nice, as he was runner-up at RSM following top-15 showings in Mexico and Las Vegas.

19. Jason Dufner: Hasn’t been his elite-ballstriking self lately, but he did manage a T-11 at Kapalua, a course that he hasn’t played well on in the past. Was T-9 two years ago at Sony and shot 65 in the first round last year before missing the cut.

20. Kyle Stanley: Went T-21, T-19, T-5 entering Kapalua before finishing 30th. Hasn’t struck the ball well by his standards, though he doe rank seventh on Tour in GIR, which means his driver has been causing him problems. Closed strong last year to finish T-36 at Sony after an opening 71. Was T-13 at Waialae in 2016.

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