- Full preview of the Sony Open with The Golf Insider
- Four value picks between $26 and $51
The golfers who played last week at Kapalua make the short trip to Maui to compete in the Sony Open.
Here’s a preview of this week’s action from the “Aloha State”…
Sony Open: The Tournament
This is traditionally the second leg of the early season “Hawaii Swing” on the PGA Tour. Previously the Hawaiian Open, it’s been a regular feature on the schedule for more than 50 years, boasting plenty of course and tournament form. There’s always a strong link with players who perform well the previous week in Maui and then come to Honolulu in tune with the conditions and having found a bit of form after the holidays. And as such, it’s always a well-contested event, with many of the Tournament of Champions players staying on to compete this week.
Sony Open: The Course
The players are at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu. It’s a 7,044 yard course, a par 70, which dates back to 1927. Designed by Seth Raynor, there are just the two par 5s on the course, which due to it’s position right on the seafront is open to the elements, most notably the wind. Shorter than most, it’s a tree-lined course which tends to favour precision over power.
256: Russell Henley (2013)
59: Justin Thomas (2017)
The PGA Tour continues with the Sony Open in Oahu.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) January 8, 2020
Australian Open: Past Winners
2019: Matt Kuchar
2018: Patton Kizzire
2017: Justin Thomas
2016: Fabian Gomez
2015: Jimmy Walker
Sony Open: The Field
A regulation line-up this week in Hawaii. Justin Thomas is the $6.50 favourite with BetEasy.
Sony Open: The Weather
Horrible! Wet and windy. Thursday looks the best of the four days (20% chance of rain). The other three days all have a 60% forecast of precipitation. But the wind could be the main factor with gusts of up to 25mph during the first two days, and still 15-20mph over the weekend. Temperatures in the mid-20s – but this is the only positive!
Sony Open: Value Outright Bets
Sungjae Im (currently $26 with BetEasy)
Im was one of the players I wrote about extensively in my Players To Follow list last year. In the 12 month period where the South Korean prodigy went on to land the prestigious “Rookie of the Year” title on the PGA Tour, he did everything but win!! I expect this to change in 2020. Im is too good a player and having faced a lot of these courses for the first time last year, he returns to many this time around with experience under his belt. And he did actually play here last year, posting one of his many Top 20 finishes (T16th). He’s started the new season with another strong set of results (19-2-49-39-3-11) and if handling the testing conditions, Im should mount another strong challenge this week. Has to win this year and it could easily be this week.
Marc Leishman (currently $41 with BetEasy)
After last week’s weather-affected Tournament of Champions, the forecast is for the wind to blow again this week – conditions which should suit players like Leishman down to the ground. The Aussie is perfectly at home on exposed, coastal courses and has never missed a cut at Waialea, posting several Top 10s in the process. He’s ot a prolific winner, but as a four-time champion on the PGA Tour he knows how to get the job done when given the opportunity. With the head of the market looking strong but not unbeatable, there’s value to be had with a number of this week’s players further down the list who boast previous form in Hawaii. A recent tenth in the Australian Open kept Leishman ticking over in the close season, and given the week’s expected windy conditions I think he’s genuine value here.
After a rare winless year for the Aussies, Marc Leishman aims to revive the nation’s fortunes on the US PGA Tour at the Sony Open. Also at Waialae CC, all six Aussies will donate to Aus bushfire appeals and the @PGATOUR is matching up to $US125,000. https://t.co/1dvZy5DwEi
— Evin Priest (@EvinPriest) January 8, 2020
Corey Conners (currently $41 with BetEasy)
This tee-to-green machine was at it again last week, ranking second for Greens-In-Regulation in the Tournament of Champions. But he then proceeded to putt with his eyes closed (30th in Strokes Gained: Putting) to finish 19th overall. I’m a huge fan of the Canadian, and he backed up his maiden win on the PGA tour last April with a series of solid efforts towards the back-end of the year. Conners was third here last year, closing with a pair of 64s. Having had a run-out last week at Kapalua, if he can get the flatstick working then he’s got every chance of going close again. He’s a player I like immensely who the layers still don’t give due credit to. A no-brainer of a bet here this week IMO.
Brandt Snedeker (currently $51 with BetEasy)
Snedeker is a proven winner on the PGA Tour, bagging nine titles along the way. What attracts me about him this week is his proven form in Hawaii (he lost a play-off here in 2016, among several high finishes), which helps given that he didn’t get a run-out last week in Kapalua. And more importantly this week, he’s a good player in poor conditions. Form here, and at courses like Pebble Beach, show Snedeker’s ability to handle the wind and exposed layouts. He’s the type of player who can click into gear at any given time and shoot low numbers, and he’s certainly not afraid to win. In what could be a hard week for the players, Snedeker has the game and course management skills to go well. And with most of the field coming here a little under-cooked, prices around 50/1 are worth taking.