This week we head to the Sony Open in Hawaii, a fun place to be so long as you're not vacationing with the Brady Kids. Let's see what diamonds in the rough we can uncover.
Jerry Kelly: I've always had a soft spot for this guy; maybe it's his Midwestern roots, maybe it's the fact that he went to college at the University of Hartford (cue up the Brass Bonanza), maybe it's the fact that he needs the little things to succeed on the course because he's not a long hitter. Kelly knows what it takes to succeed at Waialae Country Club – he won the Sony Open in 2002 and he's had plenty of strong finishes since then (4, 5, cut, 13, 13, 3).
Rickie Fowler: He was a hit in limited time on tour last year, in part because no one told the 21-year-old how difficult it truly is to make a go of it out here. Like Webb Simpson early last season, I'm going to use Fowler in the early events when his enthusiasm and energy can hopefully make up for the experience and course knowledge he's spotting the rest of the field.
Bo Van Pelt: I've always been surprised he hasn't gotten more mileage from his underrated ball-striking skills. You're going the risk-reward route with Van Pelt – he's missed 5-of-8 cuts at this stop – but I like the fact that two of his checks landed him in the Top 15. If he can survive into the weekend, maybe something can happen. The long-overdue win from 2009 should give him an extra surge of confidence this year. Linus and Lucy are rooting for you, big guy.
Pat Perez, Charles Howell: I'm using the same angle for these guys so I'll lump them into one pick – we've learned over the years that it's best to ride these horses early in the season, then tread carefully during the summer months. Both players have snappy resumes here (Perez offers 6-of-8 cuts made, five Top 20s, fourth two years back; Howell has never missed the cut, and he's bagged four Top-4 finishes).
Carl Pettersson: Let's examine his money-list finish over the six years: 52nd, 31st, 16th, 40th, 21st, 142nd. Talent just doesn't wither away overnight; this guy won three tournaments from 2005-2008 and cashed 20 checks or more for five straight years before last season. Put him on the "last year's bums" list and enjoy your discount. He's just 2-for-5 at the Sony, though he did finish tenth in 2006.
Photo via US Presswire