Corey Paves the way in Hawaii

The Champions Tour heads over to Hawaii this week and the Kapolei GC on Oahu for the Pacific Links Hawaii Championship. This will be the second time the event has been held and Willie Wood won the inaugural event last year.

The Course & Past Winners

It's a sweet course, well as it's built on converted sugar cane plantations, and is just a teaspoon full of sugar above 7,000 yards, and a par 72.
Although the title of the event says “Links” in the title it's not a true links course as it sits a couple of miles inland behind the town of Kapolei. However there are few trees on the course and like a links course will rely on the contouring as its defence. There's also plenty of water with 5 lakes affecting many holes.
Winner last year was Willie Wood who was in a good run of form, and he finished a shot ahead of Bill Glasson with a score of 14 under par.

The Contenders

Although the majority of the field return this year the field seems far stronger than it was last year as Bernhard Langer, Kenny Perry & Fred Couples all make their debut here this week. Langer keeps up his good form with 2nd, 10th and a pair of 4th places in his last 4 events. Of the 28 statistical categories on the Champions Tour he is in the top 20 for 24 of them, 40th on bounce back after dropping a shot, 42nd par 3 birdies, 71st on sand saves and a poor 240th on the longest drive!! Perry dropped off a little after his major wins, with a pair of 7th places, and 20th, but was 2nd last time out in Montreal. Couples is only 5th on the money list but has played at least 4 events less than the others, and is yet to win, 3rd & 10th in his last two events.
The main debutant being talked about this week though is Vijay Singh. Despite turning 50 in February he has waited until now to make his debut on this tour. Has really struggled on the main tour though with a best of 20th way back at the Sony Open in Jan, although perhaps there is an omen there as that is also in Hawaii. Missed his last cut at the Wyndham and 68th at the US PGA, & 31st in Canada of the back of a pair of missed cuts.
Starting the year with a pair of top 10's was Corey Pavin before then dropping off. However has been on an upward curve since the start of June, he started the month with 3 top 20's before 9th at the Senior Players, was then 3rd at the Senior US & British Opens, and 2nd in the 3M & last time out at the Dicks Sporting Goods. Did play here last year shooting all 3 rounds under par and finishing at 9 under 5 behind Wood in 8th.
In just his second event on this tour after turning 50 Duffy Waldorf finished alongside Pavin in 8th, and had 3 top 10's in 5 events. This year has 11 top 10's in 18 events with a best of 2nd at the Senior Players. 3rd in his last two events, and 4th in the two events before that so is also in form.
Final thought is David Frost who was 4th here last year and one of just 3 to have all 3 rounds under 70. Has a couple of wins this season but not since mid-June, was 3rd at the Senior Open before a poor 54th at the 3M, has been improving since then with 16th, 15th 10th & 4th last time out at the Montreal Champs.

My Selection

Whilst the big 3 all have good reasons why they are the favourites I think there is slightly better value in the other trio I have mentioned, whilst Vijay I think is struggling with his game too much to make an immediate impact on this tour. As the longest of the 3 at 20-1 Frost is tempting as he went well last year & last time out, however I think I will go with Corey Pavin as in excellent form, and only a poor 71 in the final round stopped him finishing higher last year.