10. Abraham Ancer
Ancer has the distinction of having won last time he teed it up, taking the crown at the Emirates Australian in mid-November. Taking just PGA events into account, he has also been in his best form as of late, with four top-7s in his last nine events.
The 27-year-old is determined to get Mexico into the PGA Tour winner’s circle for the first time since 1974.
World Rank: 56th
Last Six: 1, 21, 4, 73, 5, 51
Median Finish: 13.0
9. Adam Scott
The Sony represents the first action for Scott since late October, and he will be looking to build on his later season success, where he contended at the PGA Championship and followed that up with a solo-fifth in the first round of the FedExCup playoffs.
He hasn’t played the Sony a lot, but took T8 in the 2014, and with an iron game that was one of the best on Tour in 2018, he has an excellent shot at contending this week if his putting is only sort of bad.
World Rank: 41st
Last Six: 18, 10, 50, 51, 49, 5
Median Finish: 33.5
8. Jordan Spieth
This is a little bit later than we have become used to seeing Spieth start a calendar year, but he shockingly did not meet the requirement of a 2018 win to qualify for the Sentry Tournament of Champions, which he has never done before.
It comes off a poor 2018 season that saw his world ranking drop from 2nd to 17th, and his worst was arguably in November, when we last saw him, so he is coming in cold, but has presumably been working hard during his offseason.
Spieth has played Waialae well in the past, with a T18 last year and a solo-third two years ago. His talent and competitive streak will not allow him to stay down forever, but it would be understandable if people want to see some results before believing in him again.
World Rank: 17th
Last Six: MC, 55, 55, 12, 25, 12
Median Finish: 40.0
7. Charles Howell III
Nobody in the field knows this event better than CHIII, who has played every edition of this event since 2001. Kind of a microcosm of his career up to this point, Howell has posted about a million great finishes at Waialae without actually winning, twice finishing runner-up along with a handful of other top 5 finishes.
Is there reason to think this could be his breakthrough into the Waialae winner’s circle? After his win at the RSM Classic in November, his first victory on Tour since 2007, his mindset and confidence are on new highs.
World Rank: 57th
Last Six: 14, 1, MC, 61, 5, 24
Median Finish: 19.0
6. Cameron Smith
Smith has been absolutely killing it in his native Australia lately, but it should not be overlooked how great he has been on the big Tour over the past year, taking fifth place at The Masters and then notching back-to-back third places in the FedExCup Playoffs.
A first solo-victory (he and Jonas Blixt won the Zurich together in 2017) feels inevitable in 2019 for the 25-year-old. It could happen in Hawaii, where was T18 with three rounds of 67 or better a year ago.
World Rank: 29th
Last Six: 1, 10, 54, 7, 22, 20
Median Finish: 15.0
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