HONOLULU – Brandt Snedeker didn't win the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, but among the 22 golfers headed to Oahu this week for the Sony Open in Hawaii, he had the best finish.
Snedeker fired a 6-under 67 Sunday to tie for third with Brooks Koepka in this elite winners-only field and said after the round he was pleased with his 21-under performance. He will be playing at Waialae Country Club for only the third time in his career, but enjoys the layout that better suits his game.
"I'm really excited about where my game is at right now," Snedeker said. "I'm doing everything well right now and look forward to playing in the Sony. I don't know why through the years I haven't played there more often. Maybe one of those scheduling things. I don't really know. It's one of those old-style courses where you have to drive the ball well and make sure you're in the right spots to score well. I'm looking forward to coming back."
Snedeker played on Oahu in 2007 and 2008. He missed the cut in his first tour of Waialae and finished tied for 69th the second time around, despite not playing on the weekend.
That year was the first time the PGA Tour used the "made cut, but did not finish" rule in an attempt to keep the fields from being too large on the weekend for television purposes.
At that time, you couldn't play the final two rounds, but still got a paycheck for last place. The next year, the tour amended that rule that allowed you to play on Saturday to make your move. If you didn't, you sat out Sunday, but still got a check.
Snedeker remembered it like it was yesterday.
"I remember being pretty upset at the time," Snedeker said. "because I was only nine shots back. I think a lot of guys were upset and they ended up changing the rule the very next year."
In all, six of the top 10 finishers this week will be adjusting to the narrow fairways and smaller greens when compared to the expansive Plantation Course. Padraig Harrington tied for sixth with Peter Malnati and Fabian Gomez at 17-under 275. All three will play this week. It is the first tour of duty for Harrington.
"I didn't travel 24 hours (from Ireland) to play in only one event," Harrington said. When asked if he was sorry he hadn't played here before he smiled and said, "Not at all."
Also coming over among the top 10 finishers are FedExCup points leader Kevin Kisner, who placed ninth at 276, and two-time defending Sony Open champ Jimmy Walker and Australian Steven Bowditch, who finished at 277.
"It's cool going back to the Sony," Walker said. "I've never experienced anything like I'll experience next week, winning two in a row and try to make it three. So, it will be cool. I've got a lot of good memories coming from there. We're excited to get over there."
It will be the first full-field PGA Tour event of the calendar year, with eight of the top 30 and 14 of the top 50 golfers in the world taking part, including No. 11 Adam Scott, No. 13 Zach Johnson and No. 20 Matt Kuchar.
This article was written by Paul Arnett from The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.