After a horrific 3-over-par 76 to open the Sentry Tournament of Champions last week, Billy Horschel buckled down to play some pretty good golf the rest of the way. Unfortunately for him, subsequent scores of 71-64-69 only allowed him to climb to T-30th out of 38.
Based on the first three rounds listed on PGATour.com via ShotLink, Horschel ranked seventh in the field in strokes gained approach (2.322). That’s a good indicator of success at the Sony Open in Hawaii, where iron play is important.
This will be Horschel’s sixth appearance at Waialae. He’s made four straight cuts highlighted by T-7th (65-66-66-65) in 2021.
"“I think this is a really good golf course,” Horschel was transcribed by ASAP Sports in 2021. “Makes you think off the tees and where you try to land it on the greens. The greens are still very receptive but the greens are fast and running out.”"
Earlier in the quote, Horschel mentioned how he liked how Waialae was playing firmer and faster that year than earlier in his career. This course will never be confused for links land, but perhaps a dry week in the forecast will play into Billy’s hands.
The former Florida Gator had a solid 2022. He won the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide and was T-2nd at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, both of which are designated events this season.
Short game isn’t as crucial this week as in others, but it’s never a bad thing to have that kind of shotmaking at your disposal. The 36-year-old ranked eighth last season on the PGA Tour in SG around the green per round (.413).
More importantly in a week where the winner is whoever gets hot with the putter, Horschel was 21st in SG putting per round (.448).