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Content provided by Rotoworld Player News - Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

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Kyle Thompson wins in blustery Bahamas 01-11-2017
Kyle Thompson
Kyle Thompson spun a 2-under-par 32-38=70 in the final round of The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay to win his fifth Web.com Tour title at 2-under 286. It's not often a player wins a tournament with seven double bogeys on the card, but that was the case on the Sandals - Emerald Reef Course due to extreme wind. The University of South Carolina grad picked the sweetest way to erase watching his rival Clemson Tigers win their first football national championship since 1981 earlier this week. Oh, and he's also well on his way to earning a 2017-18 PGA TOUR card as the first leader of the 2017 Web.com Tour money list.
Haas returns to Sony after 7-year sabbatical 01-11-2017
Bill Haas
Following a seven-year hiatus, World No. 41 Bill Haas returns for his sixth Sony Open in Hawaii.

PGATOUR.com
The 34-year-old's last visit was a missed cut in 2010. Overall, he's 2-for-5 with one finish inside the top 70, a T9 in 2009. The Wake Forest alum is in the last season of full exempt status from the most recent of his six wins on TOUR, a 1-shot win at the 2015 Humana Challenge, where he was a 54-hole co-leader. He's off to a good start this season with three top-20 finishes in three starts, highlighted by a solo 4th at the WGC-HSBC Champions. The transplanted South Carolinian has put all 12 rounds in the red and ranks 6th on TOUR in scoring average at 69.135.
Leishman 7-for-7 at the Sony Open in Hawaii 01-11-2017
Marc Leishman
World No. 56 Marc Leishman does battle in his eighth Sony Open in Hawaii.

PGATOUR.com
The 33-year-old is a perfect 7-for-7 at Waialae CC with four top 25s and two top 10s, including a personal-best 5th-place finish in 2014. At the 2014 edition, he was T2 thru 36 holes (67-64), but a third-round 71 derailed his chances, closing with 65. The Aussie's scoring average in 28 rounds on the par-70 layout is 67.68, highlighted by a 62/R3 in 2015, which matched his career low on TOUR (x3). He opened this season with solo 5th at the CIMB (69-65-71-66) and tacked on a T24 at the OHL Classic. Leishman, who resides in Virginia Beach, Virginia, posted a T21 at the Australian PGA Championship six weeks ago in his most recent action.
Si Woo Kim backs out of the Sony Open 01-11-2017
Si Woo Kim
Prior to the start of the event, Si Woo Kim has pulled his name from the field at this week's Sony Open in Hawaii. First alternate Richy Werenski will take his spot in the field.

PGATOUR.com
Kim did not provide a reason for the WD, but we can read between the lines based on the past few months of events. Kim withdrew after 10 holes at the OHL Classic in the fall, citing a back injury. He got right back on the horse the next week but missed the cut. He got some rest over the holiday break before returning last week at the SBS Tournament of Champions. He posted even-par 292 on the week to finish T30 (of 32) golfers. Gamers should remove him from all lineups this week and play it cautiously before re-investing in the future.
Hyung-Sung Kim plays fourth straight Sony 01-11-2017
Sponsor invite and World No. 247 Hyung-Sung Kim returns to Waialae Country Club for his four consecutive Sony Open in Hawaii.

PGATOUR.com
The 36-year-old is 2-for-3 on the par-70 layout with a T65 on debut in 2014, T30 in 2015 (69-69-62-72), and a missed cut last year (by two) with laps of 72-67. He's a 4-time winner on the Japan Golf Tour, the last coming in a two-man playoff at the 2015 Top Cup Tokai Classic. The South Korean enters the week having made 11 straight cuts on the JGTO, most recently a T12 six weeks ago at the Golf Nippon Series JT Cup. This is his 10th career non-member start on the PGA TOUR and has cashed five times ($57,762).
J. Kelly makes 18th straight start on Oahu 01-11-2017
Jerry Kelly
Past champ and World No. 121 makes final preparations for his 18th consecutive Sony Open in Hawaii.

PGATOUR.com
The Wisconsinite began his love affair with Waialae CC with a missed cut in 1996 and has played in every edition since 1999. His 1-shot win in 2002 -- his first of three TOUR titles -- is among 12 top 25s, nine of which are top 10s, including the last three straight (T9/2016, T6/2015, 3rd/2014). The recently minted 50-year-old's scoring average at the par-70 layout is 68.40 in 67 career rounds. He's 1-for-2 so far this season with a T35 at the opposite-field Sanderson Farms and a MC (by one) at the OHL Classic (72-69). Kelly's most recent win on TOUR came at the 2009 Zurich Classic.
Howell III's a perfect 15-for-15 @ Waialae CC 01-11-2017
Charles Howell
World No. 104 Charles Howell III is a perfect 15-for-15 at the Sony Open in Hawaii with 10 top-25 finishes.

PGATOUR.com
The Augusta, Georgia, native is one (of four) in the field that have competed in every Sony Open since 2002 (Jerry Kelly, Pat Perez, Rory Sabbatini). He's a 2-time runner-up (2012, 2007) and has two third-place finishes (2013, 2005) among eight top 10s. In 56 rounds, the Oklahoma State product's scoring average on the par-70 layout is 67.70. He arrives off a run of three straight top-15 finishes on TOUR, sandwiching a T7 at the OHL Classic with a T15 at the Shriners and a T13 at The RSM Classic (67-65-67-71).
Past champ Palmer contest 12th Sony Open 01-11-2017
Ryan Palmer
Past champ and World No. 75 Ryan Palmer makes his 12th Sony Open in Hawaii his first start of the 2016-17 season.

PGATOUR.com
The Texan won the 2010 edition (by one) as a 54-hole co-leader (65-66-68-66). It's the most recent of his three PGA TOUR titles in 340 career events. Overall, he's 8-for-11 at Waialae CC and has has four top 25s, including T13 last year (66-67-67-68) and T17/2015, preceded by his only other top 10, a T8 in 2014. The 40-year-old's career scoring average at the par-70 layout in 38 rounds is 69.05. Despite a nice run of T13-T24-T4 in last year's Playoffs, he was eliminated after the BMW Championship at 34th in the FedExCup standings with 10 top 25s in 23 starts, three for top 10s, with each doubling as top 5s.
Funk, 60, plays Sony Open on sponsor invite 01-11-2017
Fred Funk
Sponsor invite Fred Funk and 9-time PGA TOUR Champions winner is in Honolulu for his 24th Sony Open in Hawaii.

PGATOUR.com
There are four, 50-somethings in the field this week but Funk is the elder statesman at 60 years of age. He proved last year, when a sprout 59-year-old, that he could still hold his own, posting a T42 with a pair of 65s book-ending rounds of 70-71. The University of Maryland alum's most recent win on the senior circuit was in 2014 and has eight PGA TOUR victories in 647 career events. He posted one top 10 in his last 51 starts on the main stage, a T9 at the 2014-15 OHL Classic. Previous to that, it was a T10 at this Sony Open in 2008.
Hagy climbs to 14th in WCT grad reshuffle 01-11-2017
Brandon Hagy
Web.com Tour grad and World No. 358 Brandon Hagy prepares for his tournament debut at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

PGATOUR.com
The first-time member (though not a rookie) recorded a career-best T14 at the opposite-field Sanderson Farms 11 weeks ago in his 12th career start. That chased a T35 at the Safeway Open on a sponsor invite and a missed cut (by five) at The RSM Classic in his most recent start on rounds of 70-72. The 25-year-old and UC-Berkeley alum began the season 41st in the Priority Rankings and sits 14th following the first reshuffle post-RSM with 44.583 FedExCup points.
Kjeldsen debuting at Sony Open in Hawaii 01-11-2017
Soren Kjeldsen
Søren Kjeldsen sets his eyes on Waialae Country Club for his debut at this week's Sony Open in Hawaii.

PGATOUR.com
The 41-year-old Dane has never seen Waialae CC in competition but his game looks like a good fit on paper. Kjedlsen plays fairways-and-greens golf, which should help him here at a tight track like Waialae. Splitting his time between Europe and the United States this year, he is making his first start of the season in the U.S. this week. Looking at his career trajectory, Kjeldsen was sitting at 35th in the Official World Golf Rankings after 2009 and fell all the way to 335th after 2014. We are seeing a career revival for the Dane, so gamers should ride the hot hand but also be ready to jump ship at any sign of attrition.
Merritt looks to regain form at Sony Open 01-11-2017
Troy Merritt
Troy Merritt ranks 69th in the FedExCup standings ahead of this week's Sony Open in Hawaii.

PGATOUR.com
The Boise State product posted a pair of top 15s during the fall schedule, opening the season with a T15 at the Safeway Open and backing it up with a T11 at the Sanderson Farms. Merritt found himself T12 after 36 holes in his next event (Shriners) but slid to T48 by week's end and missed the cut at The RSM Classic just before the holiday break. That suggests his good form may have disappeared. His track record at Waialae Country Club has been hit-or-miss, posting a T20 (2010) and T30 (2015) but missing the cut in his other three trips.
Kodaira looks for a spark @ second Sony start 01-11-2017
Satoshi Kodaira
Satoshi Kodaira made his debut at the 2016 Sony Open in Hawaii and returns this week for a second look at Waialae Country Club.

PGATOUR.com
Kodaira calls the Japan Golf Tour home and he's won on his home circuit each of the past four seasons. The 27-year-old most recently hoisted the trophy at the 2016 Bridgestone Open, held in October. Last year he made his Sony Open debut and arrived without much form. He went on to post rounds of 68-67-74=209 en route to a T81/MDF on the week. Overall on the PGA TOUR he boasts 3-for-5 record, but that is a bit deceiving. Two of his "cuts made" came in no-cut Wolf Golf Championship events. In actuality, Kodaira has yet to post anything better than a T65 on the PGA TOUR and that makes him a relatively easy fade in fantasy games this week.
Cameron Smith returns for seconds @ Sony Open 01-11-2017
Cameron Smith
Cameron Smith turns his attention to Waialae Country Club ahead of this week's Sony Open in Hawaii.

PGATOUR.com
The Aussie pieced together a 4-for-4 fall schedule to arrive 50th in the FedExCup race. The highlights of the fall were a T11 at the Sanderson Farms followed up by a T10 at the Shriners. As for the Sony Open, he made his debut last year and opened with rounds of 1-under 69 and 3-under 67 before stumbling to 3-over 73 on Saturday to post a MDF on the week. The 23-year-old has a world or talent but Waialae CC wasn't love at first sight. On the week he lost 1.55 strokes off-the-tee, lost 0.93 strokes approaching-the-green, and lost 1.07 strokes around-the-green. Arriving with better form this time around, perhaps that makes Smith a nice sleeper selection in deeper fantasy formats.
Drysdale hopes to shine again in South Africa 01-11-2017
David Drysdale
David Drysdale is 3-for-3 in South African Opens at Glendower and will bid to continue that perfect streak in this year's renewal at the parkland track in Gauteng.

EuropeanTour.com
The Scotsman felt his way in with T59 in 2013 and then occupied second place after 54 holes in 2015 before ending T11. He added T27 last year. It's an event he's always enjoyed and stretching back he's made every cut since 2008. That sequence includes top 25s in 2009 and 2010. Drysdale reminded us that he's a sleeper pick for any European Tour event in South Africa when taking T11 in last month's Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek.
Hanson bids to make mark again in S Africa 01-11-2017
Chris Hanson
After being in the thick of contention for 54 holes on his last trip to the country, Chris Hanson will hope to sustain his effort for all four rounds in this week's South African Open.

EuropeanTour.com
The Englishman opened 69-65-68 to sit T2 with 18 holes to play of December's Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek but spiralled back to T11 after closing with a 76. This week, he'll aim to add to his perfect 6-for-6 record on South African soil. That includes T59 on his Glendower debut last year, a second-round 67 showing he can shoot good numbers at the parkland par 72. Hanson saved his Tour card by the skin of his teeth last season but that was his rookie campaign and he'll know more second time around.
Rumford returns to SA Open after 11-year gap 01-11-2017
Brett Rumford
Brett Rumford will get a first look at Glendower GC when he pegs it up in this week's South African Open, an event he last contested in 2004.

EuropeanTour.com
The Aussie has good, if distant, memories of his appearance at Erinvale 11 years ago as he held the first-round lead after a 64 and went on to finish T9. Rumford has also performed well in other events in South Africa down the years with a T7 in last season's Tshwane Open giving him a third top 12 in his last five appearances in the country. The 39-year-old, a five-time winner on the European Tour, is 12th on this season's Race to Dubai after a solo fifth in his home Australian PGA Championship and a T25 in the Hong Kong Open, both those events taking place before the Christmas break.
Stone defending at SA Open; partners McIlroy 01-11-2017
Brandon Stone
Last year's winner Brandon Stone will have star attraction Rory McIlroy for company for the first two rounds of the South African Open at Glendower and, if the form works out, maybe two more.

EuropeanTour.com
While the Northern Irishman dominates the betting, Stone is rated second favorite on the bookies' lists. The young South African made the big breakthrough when winning this tournament 12 months ago with 14-under and he added a second European Tour win, again on home soil, when capturing the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December. Taking into account Sunshine Tour events, Stone now has three wins and two second places in his last 11 starts in South Africa so it seems right to view him as McIlroy's biggest threat. Stone is also writing a blog for the European Tour this week and says, "I've played here at Glendower Golf Club since I was a kid. I live just about 30 miles away so it's pretty familiar." Stone shot 73 to McIlroy's 70 when they played together in round three of the Open de France last summer but the 23-year-old recovered on Sunday to claim T5.
Fisher, Jr. lining up for another home Open 01-11-2017
Trevor Fisher
Trevor Fisher, Jr has two top 10s and a T15 in his three South African Opens at Glendower so could be one of the local players to keep an eye on when he contests this week's edition at the par 72.

EuropeanTour.com
Fisher Jr. closed with a 64 to post T7 in 2013, added T15 in 2015 and hoisted up a weekend score of 66-70 last year to take T8. In addition, he has two other top 10s at the venue when it's hosted the Sunshine Tour's BMG Classic so he's a genuine course horse. Less encouraging is his current form if it can be called that. Fisher, Jr. closed his year down with T37 in October's Portugal Open and prior to that had missed five cuts out of seven. He'll hope that the return to one of his favorite venues provides a spark and it's worth remembering that he's won one of these co-sanctioned events before. That came at the 2015 Africa Open when he shot 24-under to secure his first and only European Tour win by a five-shot margin.
Former runner-up Kruger returns to Glendower 01-11-2017
Jbe Kruger
Jbe' Kruger finished T2 in the 2014 South African Open at Glendower and will hope to shine again when the tournament returns to the par 72 this week.

EuropeanTour.com
Kruger closed with a 65 to post 17-under 271 on that occasion, his fast finish leaving him just two shots behind winner Morten Orum Madsen. He's not made the same impact for the last two years, ending T61 and T45 respectively, but notably he was third at halfway 12 months before slipping back and held the first-round lead in 2015 after a 66. Overall, he's been in the top three after day one in each of the last three years. The South African also has recent form that should attract gamers. He ended 2016 with three 10th place finishes in four worldwide starts, the most recent his T10 at the Hong Kong Open after a closing 67.
Ahlers aims to improve SA record at Glendower 01-11-2017
Jaco Ahlers
Jaco Ahlers is 0-for-3 in South African Opens at Glendower GC but the local man does have some previous good form at the course.

EuropeanTour.com
The parkland layout has also played host to the Sunshine Tour's BMG Classic and Ahlers placed T7 in the 2014 edition and was also fifth in 2010. He also returns to the course this year holding a shiny, new European Tour card in his hand. Ahlers made the big leap after coming through Q School at PGA Catalunya Resort in Spain last November. He made an immediate impact by posting T11 in the Alfred Dunhill Championship and prior to that had won two of his previous seven Sunshine Tour events so the 34-year-old has blossomed late and is now playing the best golf of his career.