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Ultrasonic guided wave imaging with a sparse, or spatially distributed, array can detect and localize damage over large areas. Conventional delay-and-sum images from such an array typically have a relatively high noise floor, however, and contain artifacts that often cannot be discriminated from damage. Considered here is minimum variance distortionless response (MVDR) imaging, which is a variation of delay-and-sum imaging whereby weighting coefficients are adaptively computed at each pixel location. Utilization of MVDR significantly improves image quality compared with delay-and-sum imaging, and additional improvements are obtained from incorporation of a priori scattering information in the MVDR method, use of phase information, and instantaneous windowing. Simulated data from a through-hole scatterer are used to illustrate performance improvements, and a performance metric is proposed that allows for quantitative comparisons of images from a known scatterer. Experimental results from a through-hole scatterer are also provided that illustrate imaging efficacy.