Expert Picks: 2016 Sony Open


This week the 2016 fantasy golf season continues in Hawaii, as 144 players tee it up at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players, based on Golf Channel's fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel includes: senior writers Rex Hoggard and Randall Mell; editorial director Jay Coffin; associate editor Will Gray; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams; host Charlie Rymer and defending fantasy champion Ryan Lavner.

Will Gray

Group 1: Matt Kuchar: Tough to fade a two-time defending champ in Jimmy Walker, but I'll side with Kuchar who finished the season stronger and whose record at Waialae includes four straight finishes of T-8 or better.

Group 2: Marc Leishman: The Aussie enters off a stellar 2015 season and he didn't finish worse than T-27 in Honolulu from 2009-2014. Even last year, when he slipped to T-37, he threw in an 8-under 62 during the second round.

Group 3: Harris English: This group is loaded with quality sleeper picks like Charles Howell III and Jerry Kelly, but I'll side with English who followed a T-9 finish here in 2013 with a fourth-place showing in 2014 and a T-3 finish a year ago.

Group 4: Chad Campbell: Campbell typically creates plenty of birdie opportunities, and while the putter hasn't been an ally in recent years, he seems to find his form at Waialae. Campbell reeled off four top-15 finishes in five starts here from 2006-2011.

Randall Mell

Group 1: Jimmy Walker: Walker makes it three in a row at Waialae. That nine-shot runaway victory last year shows just  how  comfortable and confident he is on this track.

Group 2: Brandt Snedeker: Liked the opening form at Hyundai (T-3). Liked the putting stroke, especially, bodes well for a strong start to 2016.

Group 3: Harris English: He’s T-3, 4th and T-9 in his last  three starts at Sony, trending upward nicely.

Group 4: Steve Stricker: Hard to resist taking Stricker in Group Four. He’s had some strong efforts in the past at Sony.