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Preview: Jimmy Walker eyes Sony Open victory after play-off loss

Jimmy Walker will attempt to put his Tournament of Champions disappointment behind him by retaining the Sony Open title this week.

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The American looked set for a victory in Kapalua on Monday before losing his way on the back nine and Patrick Reed took advantage to force a play-off.

Walker had an opportunity to win the tournament at the 18th, but his birdie putt came up short and Reed needed only one extra hole to be crowned champion.

The 35-year-old is one of 24 players to remain in Hawaii for the Tournament of Champions at the Waialae Country Club and has fond memories of playing in this PGA Tour event 12 months ago.

The world number 17 closed with a seven-under 63 to win the 2014 Sony Open, which was his second victory in his last six starts at the time.

Walker had been in a five-way tie for the lead in the final round before raising his game to top the leaderboard ahead of Chris Kirk, and he will be eyeing a repeat performance.

Kirk returns with the aim of going one better than last year and should head into the event buoyed by a closing course-record equalling 62 in the Tournament of Champions, which ensured he finished tied for 14th.

Jason Day and Matt Kuchar are among a field that includes six of the top 25 players in the world rankings.

World number eight Day also finished with a sublime 62 in Kapalua to finish tied for third and has five top-10 finish in his last six starts, so the Australian is fancied to challenge this week.

Kuchar has taking a liking to the Waialae Country Club in recent times, having finished in the top eight on his last three visits.

Russell Henley looks to be another strong contender, as he racked up 26 birdies and shot three rounds of 63 in his Sony Open victory in 2013 and was also joint-third in the Tournament Of Champions.

Zach Johnson is another former winner of the tournament in the field. He claimed the title six years ago and finishing eighth last year.

Ten Sony Open winners have played in Kapalua the week before winning at the Waialae Country Club and it would be no surprise if that trend continued this week.

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