PGA Tour: Anthony Kim and The 10 Players Who Impressed at The Sony Open
The second PGA event of the season, and the first with a full field, finished up on Sunday in Honolulu with a 36-hole marathon.
Rain washed out the first day of the tournament on Thursday, forcing the long Sunday.
The survivor of the weekend was Mark Wilson, who hung on to beat South African, Tim Clark, by two shots. The win earned Wilson his first trip ever to the Masters in April.
Here's a look at ten players who impressed in Hawaii, and will definitely be heard from again during the 2011 golf season.
10. Davis Love III
It is hard to read too much into a strong tournament from Davis Love. Over the last several years, Love has shown promise and even some brilliance from time to time, but rarely can he keep it consistent. And not just consistent through a season, but consistent through any single golf tournament.
It is very rare to see four good rounds from Love, but that is just what he did over the weekend. 68, 66, 67, 69 over the four rounds. This was good for a top-ten finish (tied for ninth), something Love managed only three times in all of 2010.
In fact, in 2010, Love missed an amazing nine cuts in 24 events. His last victory on tour came in 2008.
But there is no arguing this is a good start for the American who will turn 47 in April. Let's see if he can keep it going.
9. Justin Rose
The Englishman, Rose, had a breakout year (finally!) in 2010 on the PGA Tour. He recorded his first two PGA wins and finished fifth in the Fed Ex Cup points standings. This was up from his 93rd place finish in the same race in 2009.
2011 is an important year for Rose, who is now 30 years old, to keep this going. He has had a good start. Last week at the Tournament of Champions he finished a respectable 12th, and this week he managed a tie for 13th with a full field.
8. Steve Stricker
Two starts and two top ten finishes. Nothing new for Sticker. He is, after all, about as consistent as they come.
Stricker shot four rounds in the 60's to earn a tie for ninth, a week after his fourth place finish at the Tournament of Champions last week.
Last season he had nine top ten finishes in just 19 events. No reason to think that will drop at all in 2011.
7. Steve Marino
Only three top ten finishes a year ago for Marino in 25 events, he has started 2011 off wonderfully.
His -14 showing in Honolulu gave him a second place tie with Tim Clark, a better finish than he managed all of last year.
Marino, now 30, seems to have the game to compete on this tour. Perhaps this strong start is exactly what he needed to go just that in 2011.
6. Jerry Kelly
Perhaps a strong start to 2011 is what Jerry Kelly needs to come back from a disappointing 2010 on tour. Kelly's -10 under put him in that group in a tie for ninth, with Steve Stricker, Davis Love and Chris Riley.
The 44-year-old Kelly has a small window to remain competitive on this tour. A good start to the year may be more important to the 40-something aged guys on tour than it is to the younger fellows.
5. Shigeki Maruyama
We may see more of Maruyama in 2011 than we have in the past couple of years. In the last two years he's played in a total of only nine events on the PGA Tour. Four last year and five in 2009.
Maruyama, also in that 40-something group at 41, is looking for a comeback year.
He is off to a good start with a seventh place finish. Maruyama had the 36 hole lead heading into the final 36 holes on Sunday.
The native of Japan, although born in China, he has won three times on the PGA Tour. However, the last win came in 2003.
His game seems on to start the year, and don't be surprised at a comeback season from the smiling assassin.
4. Matt Kuchar
It would not be a great stretch to call Kuchar one of the four or five best players in the world right now.
He has picked up right where he left off last year. In two events so far, Kuchar has a sixth place finish (last week) and a fifth place finish (this week) in the books.
The American is currently ranked 13th in the world and moving up fast. He does need to learn to close out some of these events, however. Although he did win once last year, it was his only victory in 11 top ten finishes and 20 times in the top 25.
3. Anthony Kim
Kim finished in a tie for 13th over the weekend, so you may ask, "why does he deserve to make the list?" Good question.
A year ago at this time Kim was the poster child for American golf, and the front runner to lead the "young guns" into the new decade. His year started out promising, but a wrist injury sidelined him for three months and then a very slow return for his game the rest of the year.
In fact, Kim played his way off the Ryder Cup team with his poor play after his return from injury. He showed almost no signs of the golfer we saw early in 2010 before the injury.
Last week at the Tournament of Champions he played okay in finishing 19th in the 32 man field. This week he seemed, during long stretches, much more like the Anthony Kim we've come to expect.
This tournament may be a big confidence booster for the American heading into 2011. We also have to remember, he is only 25.
2. Tim Clark
Little man with a big putter.
The South African had a nice year on tour last season, and has continued that play right into the start of 2011.
Clark birdied three of the final four holes during the final round, but ultimately finished two back of the winner Wilson. He had an eagle putt on the final hole that just missed, and had he made it it certainly would have put a little more pressure on Wilson and Marino heading in.
The win moves Clark up the the 20th spot in the official world golf rankings at the ripe old age of 35.
Look for another strong year from him.
1. Mark Wilson
Of course, the most impressive guy of the tournament has to the one that lifted the trophy, right?
Wilson showed remarkable fortitude in pulling off the win. He seemed more excited about having qualified for his first Masters than he was about winning a PGA event.
"I get goose bumps thinking about it," he said afterward on Sunday, referring to his impending trip to Augusta in April.
Wilson played bogey free golf on Sunday. That means bogey free golf for 36 holes, not 18. He was able to hold off the late charges from Marino and Clark to win the year's second event.