5. Matt Kuchar
Kuchar’s victory at November’s Mayakoba Golf Classic busted him out of a slump, and should have him confidence at Waialae, where he has finished 13th or better in every attempt since 2011, including a pair of T5s.
One of the few players in the Sony field that was present at last week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions, Kuchar was erratic early on, but played the weekend bogey-free and hit 28 of 30 fairways.
World Rank: 32nd
Last Six: 19, 23, 1, 57, 28, 43
Median Finish: 25.5
4. Marc Leishman
Leishman’s hot play late in 2018 seems to have carried over into 2019, as the 35-year-old Aussie finished T4 at last week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions.
A T47 at Waialae last year does not stand off the page, but keep in mind that he was struggling badly with consistency at this point last year, and he has a LOT of history at this event, with highlights being a solo-5th in 2014, and a T9 in 2013.
World Rank: 18th
Last Six: 4, 2, 18, 1, 21, 41
Median Finish: 12.5
3. Gary Woodland
Last week at Kapalua, Woodland led by three going into the final round, shot a bogey-free 5-under, and STILL did not win the event. This week, there is no Xander Schauffele to blitz the Sunday field 1961 Wilt Chamberlain style, which is great for Woodland, who has been white-hot since October.
In the new season, he leads the Tour in birdie average, and Waialae tends to be a birdie paradise. The math is working well in his favor. Woodland is also a horse for the course, with finishes of T7, T6, and T3 on his recent Sony resume.
World Rank: 22nd
Last Six: 2, 8, 41, 10, 2, 5
Median Finish: 6.5
2. Bryson DeChambeau
A breakout 2018 saw DeChambeau win four times, with three of those coming since late August. He is undeniably among the best players any time he tees up now, and in this Sony field, only Justin Thomas is ranked higher in the OWGR.
DeChambeau does not have much in the way of results at Waialae, but that does not matter right now. He is simply too good.
World Rank: 5th
Last Six: 7, 12, 1, 19, 19, 1
Median Finish: 9.5
1. Justin Thomas
A T14 at Waialae a year ago was a minor disappointment, but that is the bar you create when you previously start with a 59 en route to the lowest four round score in PGA Tour history.
After a T3 in last week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions, which included a final-day 8-under 65, the world No. 4 is in good form.
As the best player in the field, we think Thomas is more likely to be “really, really good” than just “really good,” even if he doesn’t post another record-shattering performance.
World Rank: 4th
Last Six: 3, 12, 36, 5, 7, 12
Median Finish: 9.5
Five More: Kevin Kisner, Danny Lee, Kevin Tway, Cameron Champ, Tom Hoge