2023 Sony Open in Hawaii: Top 10 Power Rankings at Waialae

Sony Open in Hawaii, Waialae Country Club,Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Sony Open in Hawaii, Waialae Country Club,Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /
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Sony Open, Waialae, Sony Open in Hawaii, PGA Tour, Jordan Spieth
Hideki Matsuyama, Sony Open in Hawaii, Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

At this point, you can never take Hideki Matsuyama’s health for granted. Various ailments have sidelined him throughout his career, but fortunately not often for long stretches.

The Japanese talent had to withdraw from the Cadence Bank Houston Open in November. That led to his WD from the Hero World Challenge a few weeks later.

So, when he showed up to Kapalua last week for the Sentry Tournament of Champions, we weren’t sure if he was there to try to factor into the tournament, or just cash the six-figure check that awaited last place in the no-cut event.

Matsuyama maybe ran out of steam toward the end, but firing 16-under (67-70-67-72) in his return to finish T-21st out of a (mostly) elite set of 38 players was a good sign.

The level of competition lowers this week at a course where Matsuyama’s had more success.

He’s the defending Sony Open in Hawaii champion after his towering 3-wood helped set up a short eagle putt to defeat Russell Henley in a playoff. Matsuyama and Henley were four shots clear of Kevin Kisner and Seamus Power who tied for third.

Matsuyama carded rounds of 66-65-63-63 (-23). That was the lowest winning score since Justin Thomas set the tournament record of 27-under in 2017.

If Matsuyama is gaining even just marginal strokes on the greens, he’s going to be tough to beat. When he leads the field in SG putting (7.264) like he did last year at Waialae, all bets are off.

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He was still his usual ball-striking self, ranking fifth in SG tee to green (7.419). If Henley didn’t keep pace, it would have been a runaway win.

This was Matsuyama’s only top-10 at the Sony, though he seems to be getting the hang of this venue. He missed the cut his first three visits and settled for T-78th (72-66-72) the fourth time around.

He improved to T-27th (66-67-67-69) in 2017, T-12th (74-67-67-66) in 2020, and the win last year.