KEVIN KISNER couldn’t quite get it going in the last round of the Sony Open at the weekend but held on to give me a T5 place.
This week the PGA Tour moves from the beautiful Hawaiian islands back to the mainland and La Quinta Country Club in California for the CareerBuilder Challenge.
I don’t normally like tipping a favourite or low-priced player but the way Patrick Reed has been playing this season it seems like a no-brainer.
He is the hottest player on the circuit with the exception of maybe Jordan Spieth. Over his last 31 rounds (eight tournaments) he is a total of 132 under par and has been over 70 only twice (71, 73).
He is second in GIR (83.33%) on the PGATour, his driving accuracy is over 70% (26th) and strokes gained putting is .595 (33rd). As he is one of my six of the best for this year I have to pick him here.
Ryan Palmer has had a couple of months off but made his return in the Sony and finished T13. He played steady golf with four rounds in the 60s and looks like he has come back in good form. He has four top-10 finishes in his last five visits here.
His driving accuracy is around 52% but that could down to being rusty, although his GIR is 73.33%. It’s hard to believe his last win on the PGA Tour was at the Sony Open in Hawaii in 2010 and with his talent should add to that soon.
Australian Marc Leishman has had quite a good start to this season. He had a T29 at the CIMB, followed that up with a T11 at the WGC HSBC Champions then won the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa by six strokes. Last week at the Sony Open he finished T28 with three 68s and a 65. He was in the play-off at The Open last year after a superb 66 in the last round but just couldn’t get over the line. He could be a surprise here.
The European Tour has left the African continent and moved to Abu Dhabi for the HSBC Golf Championship. World No.1 Jordan Spieth and European No.1 Rory McIlroy head the field which includes Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson and Martin Kaymer.
A staggering 10 top-10 finishes including a win at the British Masters in his first year on the Tour ensured Matthew Fitzpatrick arrived on the scene with a bang.
I tipped him a few times last season and as he is in my six of the best will be punting him more this year. Fitzpatrick is the real deal. He has everything in his locker and with the Ryder Cup and Olympics later on this year I expect him to be pushing himself.
This is his first outing since the Nedbank Challenge at the beginning of December and might not be at his sharpest but a few of the field will be in the same situation.
Another who hasn’t played since the Nedbank is Stenson who finished second. He hasn’t won since retaining the DP World Tour Championship at the end of 2014. The Swede hasn’t played well in Abu Dhabi for a while now but, the same as Fitzpatrick, this being Ryder Cup and Olympics year, and the fact he is 40 in April, I can see him really determined in his bid to get back at the top of his game.